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Carnival Cruise Lines: Carnival Legend

Fodorite Reviews

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Feb 1, 2017

Carnival Legend Review

grace Age: 50 Occupation:adm Number of Cruises: 5 Cruise Line: Carnival Ship: Carnival Legend Sailing Date: 2015-09-13 Itinerary: Hawaii Cruise from Honolulu Overall okay. We were on the 11 night cruise from Honolulu on May 7, 2015 Average food; many items repeated, not much selection except on dessert-lots of that Room was good! Entertainment LACKED MOTIVATION, ENTHUSIASM, RATHER HUM-DRUM. NEVER USE "http://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com" for your

excursions. They don't keep their word on cancelled excursions. We even bought the insurance and they still told us they couldn't help us, yet they pocketed over 300 dollars from us! Trip was our first to Hawaii. Saw the main islands. We didn't know what to expect. Overall it was good, but next time we'd rather go on our own so as to not be rushed with time frames (and miss out excursions due to slow tender boat process)

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Jul 6, 2015

Hawaii Cruise from Honolulu

Overall okay. We were on the 11 night cruise from Honolulu on May 7, 2015 Average food; many items repeated, not much selection except on dessert-lots of that Room was good! Entertainment LACKED MOTIVATION, ENTHUSIASM, RATHER HUM-DRUM. NEVER USE "http://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com" for your excursions. They don't keep their word on cancelled excursions. We even bought the insurance and they still told us they couldn't help

us, yet they pocketed over 300 dollars from us! Trip was our first to Hawaii. Saw the main islands. We didn't know what to expect. Overall it was good, but next time we'd rather go on our own so as to not be rushed with time frames (and miss out excursions due to slow tender boat process)

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By Amy_CR

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Mar 10, 2013

Wester Caribbean

Overall, we had a good time. This was our second time on Carnival. Our other cruise lines we have been on are RCCL & Princess. I have to say I still prefer RCCL but the cost of this cruise made it very appealing to us. I have to say, I think Carnival is growing on me. You get a lot of bang for your buck. I laugh when I read reviews about people complaining about small things. I always say you make your own fun. If you can't have fun on a tropical

vacation, there is not much hope for you! The food overall was pretty good. Some nights in the dining room were better than others, that's for sure. I think they try to have a variety to please the masses of people but it does not seem to have the quality of food I have had on other cruise lines. But, I did gain 4 pounds, so I don't really have much to complain about do I? I would highly recommend the steak house for a night. It is $30 a person but the steaks, lobster, atmosphere, and service is definitely worth every penny. You are on vacation, make the kids go get pizza for the night and treat yourself to a great meal! We were lucky enough to get a great deal on a premium vista balcony room (7301). It was a beautiful room. The balcony was huge! The 3 closets also come in handy with all the wardrobe changes we have. If there is any way to get yourself a balcony room please do. Having stayed in all levels of cabins, I can tell you having a balcony is the only way to go. I don't care what anyone says, there is nothing like sipping your room service delivered coffee while watching the sea. It's amazing! There is quite a bit to do on board. One secret on this ship most people don't know about is that everyone is allowed to use the spa facilities even if you didn't pay for services such as a massage or facial. They have a great steam room & sauna in both the male & female locker rooms. There is also a whirlpool tub in the center that over looks the workout room and front of the ship. Most days my daughter & I had them to ourselves. Check it out. Very relaxing! We are not really show people but we did enjoy the comedy shows. The family ones are a little cheesy but our girls had fun. Cozumel- the beginners snorkel trip was amazing. Had a blast. Belize- Very disappointing port. I was so looking forward to going there but after a very long wait to get on a very long tender ride )about 30 minutes) we were dropped off to visit a few crappy shops and then wait for another tender back. If I was ever going back there I would not get off the ship. Roatan- No need to pay for any excursions if you like the beach, as it right next to the dock. You can take the chair lift (our kids did) but my husband & I took the pleasant walk down a paved and beautifully landscaped path to the beach. Even though it rained a lot of the day, we had an incredible day. Beautiful beach. Bring $$. They have some great food and drinks for sale. My husband thought the chicken with red beans and rice at the Hurricane Hut (love the name!) was some of the best he has had. Grand Cayman- took an excursion to 7 mile beach. We were able to snorkel right from the shore. Incredible! Don't miss it!!! Don't worry about any negative reviews. Relax. Enjoy being pampered. Go with the flow. Drink fruity libations with umbrellas. Dance on the Lido deck. Judge a hairy chest contest. Eat lobster. Eat self serve ice cream at 10am. You are on vacation. Bon Voyage & smooth sailings!!

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Jan 14, 2013

Western Caribbean

The staff was very friendly and courteous. Food was mediocre. Everything was too loud. Guess they think that loud equals good and very loud equals very good, but it equals irritating and obnoxious. Mid-ship pools were unusable as obscenely loud rock music was almost always blasting. Entertainment (?) was also very loud. Would not recommend to anyone over 30 as almost everything was geared to the young and immature. Drinks were grossly overpriced.

Everything was geared to getting one to spend more money. Shore excursions were overly expensive. Ports of call were merely excuses to get one to buy junk at outrageous prices. After this terrible experience my wife and I agreed that it was our last cruise. Q. Which styles of cruise is this ship best suited for? A. None. Some good, some poor, mostly average and after a few days, boring. No complaints about the room. Staff was very nice. Much, much too loud to be enjoyed. Best place was the card room where one could close the door to drown out the noise. In the area there was a lounge singer that screamed so loud that it came through the door. If you say away from this ship you will stay away from the grossly overpriced excursions (I suspect that Carnival gets a huge kickback from booking these excursions.) Went on the dolphin swim in Cozumel. Touted a three hour excursion. Most time spent waiting. Actual time with a dolphin was about one to two minutes. They took lots of pictures. Only $29 a picture! No one in our group bought a single picture at this price. If the fools charged something reasonable, like $5, they would have sold hundreds of pictures but, like every one else on this trip, they were out to gouge the tourists. Swimming with the dolphins was great but way too expensive, about $146.00 a minute. Will never cruise again! Enough said.

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Jul 29, 2012

Western Carribean

This was our first cruise we went as a family and had a outstanding time after reading some of the negative comments it makes me wonder just how critical people can really be, but if you are looking for a great vacation with great food and service that is outstanding this is it. Now to sum it up we have already booked two more cruises to different ports for next year, oh by the way I won a decent chunk of change in the casino enough to pay for 2 different

excusions for 4 people. Buffets were pretty good can't say I liked everything, but the restaurant was a great place to eat we got to know our waiters very well and enjoyed all of our meals. Keep vey clean, the room had plenty of space and remember you don't live in them just sleep and shower so save your money for the excursions. Plenty to do all the time if you get bored it's your own fault, let go and enjoy life. Helmut dive in Cozumel was a lot of fun the Mexican people are very hospitable so relax and enjoy the party. The cave tubing and lunch in Belize was a lot of fun. Grand Cayman land and sea excursion will be the most memorable touring the sea turtle farm and the town Hell,and off to the boat ride out to get in the water with the sting rays on the way there dolphins were swimming along side of the boat. Well worth the money plan for the excursions and extras.

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Jul 5, 2012

Cozumel and Belize and Isla Roatan Honduras and Grand Cayman

My wife and I had a great time on our 3rd cruise for our 12th anniversary. The cruise director, Kirk, was fantastic but we had his last week on the Legend. He went on vacation after this cruise and goes to the Pride in August. Our room stewards were very good and our main dining room head waiter and assistant waiters gave us excellent service. All the crew we encountered were hard-working, friendly and professional. Our room was on the 8th level

near the bridge, so we saw a number of ship's officers who would say hello in the hall. Our cruise visited all four ports on the itinerary: Cozumel, Belize, Isla Roatan (Honduras), and Grand Cayman. The food that we had was good most days on Lido deck and was very good in the main dining room where we had breakfast, lunch (at sea) and dinner at our assigned table every night. We were given a table for 2 without even having asked for it and since it was our anniversary, that was a nice touch that we appreciated. My wife enjoyed all the meals that she had. I enjoyed all except one night my steak was more "well done" instead of "medium" that I prefer. The employees on Lido were very good about cleaning tables after people got up and even would take our used dishes before we left the table. The choices were numerous and pleasing. If you don't find something you like then you must be a very picky eater. The room was always kept clean. They came in twice a day and replaced towels even when I hung them up to use again. Our stewards were nice and friendly as well as stewards of other rooms as we passed them in the hall. They work very hard to give us a nice vacation. Every evening when we were at dinner they would clean the room and make the bed with a towel animal and chocolates. We didn't do the Lido deck activities, the Bingo games, or use the Casino, but we did see all the evening shows in the main theatre lounge and some of the music rooms. The singing and dancing acts were good and entertaining. The way they change sets and costumes so quickly is fascinating. The acts were not Broadway quality but they were certainly very good and much better than I could do. I think some people are too picky in this area of their reviews. The Cruise Director was fantastic in the show lounge and completely in his element. His marriage show was hilarious. We enjoyed the Belize Historical Tour and Airboat ride in the swamps outside Belize City. The operators were very knowledgeable about their city and the wildlife in the swamps. The harbor is shallow there so the ship has to anchor five miles out, that can't be helped. The system of organizing tender boat assignments was better done than other ships we've been on. We also did the Express ZipLine in Roatan, but you don't have to buy your tickets on Carnival. It's a short walk up the shopping way past the shops to their base hut and I saw people purchasing tickets for less than I paid on the ship. The zip-line experience was fun and lasted about an hour with plenty of time walk around and shop before we needed to be back on the ship. The zip-line operators were very professional and safety oriented. That was my first zip-line and I would do it again. We didn't do an excursion this time in Cayman because we had done one last year and really enjoyed the historical tour with visit to the Turtle Conservation Farm. My wife and I enjoyed relaxing in the Serenity hot tub every night after dinner and the shows (except the last night when returning to Tampa and nearing the coast some rain kept us away from the outside pool deck. The ice cream machine was left on all night outside on the middle Lido deck which we used after the hot tub. Another Carnival ship was at Cozumel when we were and some of their people were late returning. That ship was scheduled to depart before us, so their delay caused us a slight delay also. When you hear the ship's horn and you are out in town, that sound means "Get back to the ship now or we will leave you behind". Keep your watch on ship's time, not your cell phone on local time. The international crew works very hard to give us a nice vacation. We will be cruising again with Carnival next year! And with our kids too like last year!

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By Roy_CR

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May 5, 2012

Western Caribbean

Not the best cruise we've been on. Food was very sub-standard for cruise ship dinning. Our stateroom was very cold, 69 degrees F. when we arrived and never got above 75 degrees. Activities were many, but the ship was cold everywhere we went, unless we went out side. Our best excursion was a tour of cozamel, but we did have to travel some distance to reach it.The jungle bike ride in Belize took 45 minutes on very poor roads

to get to and our guide seemed to be in a hurry to get us back for lunch and to the pool. Could not get many pictures on the bike ride due to the fast pace by our guide. Our weather was great, our room was cold and when we contacted guest services for help, we received word in the form of a card on th bed that said the air handeling system was working within Carnival guidelines. Another couple at our dining table said they had the very same concern and a technician was there within a few minutes and they said their cabin was much warmer and more comfortable. We have only cruised with Carnival three or for times in the past and always had a pleasnt stay, but by day two or three we couldn't wait to return and go home. It was very hard to get served a hot meal and our waite staff seemed to always be rushing us with our meals. They went thru all of the normal hype to make you feel welcome and important, but in the end they were just trying to get us out of there so they could set up for the late seating and take a break. We felt like we were in their way. We have eight cruises under our belts and have never been treated this way.

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Mar 20, 2012

Western Caribbean

This was my first cruise and my wife's third. We both had a fantastic time. After talking to friends about cruises I had a good idea on what to except. The cruise was above expectations. The staff was friendly and professional. Our guest room steward was amazing and was available within seconds to assist with laundry service, fresh towels, making the bed, etc. The food was phenomenal and there was plenty of selection in both the buffet and

in the sitting restaurant. There was only one occasion where I didn't like the plated dinner and I simply asked for another dish and I got it within minutes. The entertainment was great. There was something for everyone. The nightly music and dance shows were funny and festive. Kirk, the entertainment director, did a great job involving the audience and making everyone feel like they were a part of the show. The adult comedy acts were amazing. Our stomachs hurt from laughing so hard. The bartenders and drinks were great. A bit pricey but expected. The ship was filled to capacity and we never felt like sardines. There is plenty of room on the ship to stretch your legs. We enjoyed all of the ports and loved the Caribbean water. Now a few negatives. Occasionally the bathroom had a stinky grey water smell. Not sure what was with that. Late into the cruise some of the staff started to look a little beat down. The staff always remained professional and friendly however near the end they had less energy. It was difficult finding pool chairs, especially in the Serenity area, but his was mostly like due to the cruise being filled to capacity Regardless of these few negatives we would highly recommend cruising on the Carnival Legend in the Western Caribbean.

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Dec 13, 2011

tampa grand cayman cozumel belize city roatan

Disapointing to say the least. Service was poor, ship was very crouded, Service in common areas non existant, Only two show for entire week. Comedy shows lasted 15 to 20 minutes after long lines. Smoke on belcony and by pools. Children eating in the hot tubs with plates. Ship rocked alot. I could not eat some meals the beef was so tough. Small portions and had to understand menu. Deserts were common cake. the Baked Alaska was neopolitan icecream

with a small thin white cake, not good! Stateroom was just ok. Clean but the balcony smelled of smoke we could not leave the door open. It was a extended balcony (room 8131) and it was obstructed forward. The ship is made of compartments that are about 50 feet so you do not have a clean look from front to rear. Only two real shows all week. The entertainment for other shows consisted of the staff doing tasks like hula hoop, line dance class listed as a show etc. The comedy acts were about 20 minutes including their introducations after a 45 minute waite to get in. Long lines. We booked a fishing trip that listed and showed a normal cabin cruised. They picked up us in a open boat with no rest room and no cover and small. The seas were rough and it rained and was cold. I have been on 3 princess cruises that were wonderful. I got into arguments with two officers over the service for drinks and the fact that the tables at the buffet were not being cleaned and we could not find space to sit. Workers assigned to clean the tables were standing around talking and not working. The officers gave me the excuse that they let people go on vacation so they did not have enough help. To sum it up, the shows were non existant, the service in common areas was either poor or non at all. There was no supervision at the pool or hot tubs. Smoking allowed on deck in common areas and on balconys.

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By Mary_CR

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Dec 6, 2011

Fun

I was very dissappointed in this cruise. I was so excited there were 17 of us. We had 4 young adults with, ranging from ages 16 to 21. These kids were so dissappointed there was nothing for all four of them to do together the clubs were up to 17 years of age or 18 years and older these kids wanted to be together. We had very windy weather so we were hoping for some fun activities there was nothing to do for all of us. The wind was horrible so

they had to close down the upper decks which would have been fine but what do you do then? We wanted to have ping pong tourneys or play basketball but the tables were busy and basketball courts were on the upper deck so closed due to the wind. Yes I understand that the cruise did their best to provide activities but we wanted to do family stuff not compete with the whole ship!!! The staff was amazing very friendly and always there for whatever you needed! The comedy shows were awesome. This was my second cruise the first on I went on was way more fun. The first time cruisers that were with us were dissappointed. I will cruise again just hope I have better luck next time. The spa was good but that also is way overpriced!! That would have been nice to do more things there but couldn't afford it. The food was nothing to get excited about. The options were mostly strange and nothing we would normally even think of eating. Would have been different if the food would have been good but it wasn't. We did eat one night in the steakhouse now that was DELICIOUS!!!! The steak was the best I have ever eaten!! The pizza and deli were very good also. It was just the dining room that was dissappointing!! The drinks were very good but way overpriced! Rooms were fine there were 2 people in the room I stayed in so plenty of room. The kids had a room with 4 of them in there now that was way to cramped!! The steward was so nice and helpful and kept our rooms very clean. Excursions were good.

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Jun 11, 2011

cozumel roatan belize cayman island

I did enjoy this cruise the service was very good and staff were friendly. My only complaint would be the shows, they tended to be boring. The two female lead singers were awful!! The first comedians of the first half of the cruise were boring to say the least. However the last night onboard they did have a very entertaining juggler and 2 new comedians who were much better. I thought the food was pretty good, although I did have a pork

chop one evening that was very tough, and a slice of prime rib which was also tough. Breakfast was good I very much enjoyed the omelettes they make for you on the spot. French toast was only offered once. I would think that would be something they should offer every morning since it was very good. But overall I would say it was very good. We were pleasantly surprised and was upgraded to a balcony room, it had a partly blocked view with the lifeboat there but it was of little consquences. We could still see anything we wanted. I would very much reccommend the zipline excursion in Roatan, the service was excellent and the private beach afterward was hevenly. We used our travel agent for our excursion in Roatan and Cozumel which was about $30.00 cheaper than going through Carnival. It was also better having smaller groups for excursions. It was a very nice trip but how could it not be when you go with your two best friends. I would recommend cruising with Carnival but I would not go on the Ship Legend again. It lacked in certain areas compared to the other Carnival Ships. If you are a first time Cruiser than it would probably not matter.

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Apr 13, 2011

western carribean

In one word - MEDIOCRE. We have been on many crusies, but this is the first in 10 years. Last one was similar ship on Carnival - same class cabin - stern balcony. Level of service has gone down dramatically in 10 years. Quality of food in main dining room has gone down. To be fair, price has also gone down. The high-end added price Golden Fleece restaurant is well worth it - we ended up eating there 3 times on a 7 day cruise, but should not have had

to feel that that was the only way to get high quality food. I tend to tip freely in cash and early in the crusie over and above the automatic gratutity added to the bill. My advice is don't waste your money - I did not see any appreciable difference in level of service form the staff even after substantial tips. Main dining room is about the quality I would expect from a $12-$15 restaurant. High-end added-price ($30 per person) restaurant was excellent and well worth it. Go at least once, but make it at the end of your cruise so you are not spoiled. We booked for Wed. and ended up eating there on Fri. & Sat. as well because we could not face more nights of the main dining room ffod. Again Main dining room was not a bad meal, but you could get the same thing at a middle of the road restuarant - nothing special. Stateroom was fine. We have been in the same class on Carnival before and were satisfied with it. We like the stern cabins with a balcony. Average - aqbout the same as any other cruise we have been on. We are not big on participating in onboard activities. Isle of Roatan is absolutely magnificent. If you are only going on one excursion on shore take it here. This port salvaged what would otherwise have been a disappointing trip for us. Even the view from the ship at the dock is beautiful. SInce we have not been on a cruise in 10 years, I cannot tell if the general decline in service and quality are industry-wide or restricted to Carnival, but I would not take another Carnival crusie until I found out. It was not terrible - just not anywhere near what I had comne to expect from a cruise.

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Jan 24, 2011

Western carribean

Very disappointed for what we paid. Food/Dining – Bring Imodium! My first food in the Unicorn Lounge after boarding the ship resulted in a bad case of diarrhea 4 hours later. Dinner that evening in the Truffles Restaurant was served maybe at room temperature at best and we never did get our dinner rolls. Ok, it was the first day. The next morning and subsequent meals offered at the Unicorn Lounge the hot food was cold and the cold food was

room temperature. The next three nights in the Truffles Restaurant were ok, but on Friday after waiting for 45 mins. after being seated we finally got our meals, both COLD. We promptly informed the waiter who returned 15 mins later with more cold food. We were not happy. Spoke with the head waiter who apologized. The deserts were not that good and my wife had a steak one night that was very tough. We did have a very pleasant young lady from Russia by the name of Tatiana that seated us a number of times. The card on the table listed a head waiter and two assistants, but we never saw more than one. On Royal Caribbean we had three waiters tending to us at all times. Saturday was another case of digestive problems and more of the same in the dining areas. We never even bothered going to dinner Saturday night. Room service coffee was brought to you in a carafe that the coffee didn’t stay hot more than a few minutes and no matter how big you wrote extra sugar on the order slip you got what they gave you. Enough for maybe one packet per cup. Room – our room which was at the rear of the ship with a balcony was very nice. During the rough weather we experienced on Saturday, nine foot plus seas and 43 mph winds, it was a little bouncy/rolling but not too bad. The scary part was when a deck chair from up above flew off and crashed on the balcony area before falling into the water. I guess the crew didn’t bother to secure all the deck chairs properly. We were very happy we were not on the balcony when this occurred or we could have been injured. Entertainment – The entertainment was weak at best. If you like being entertained by the Cruise Director Josh who went by “Big Sexy”, his assistants – Peanut and Buttercup – both “males” and a couple of sloppily dressed female assistants then I guess you would be ok. The shows were certainly on the low budget end and the male singer in the Follies Lounge where the “major” shows were done should really look for another career. The comedians were good, but did repeat performances each time and only lasted 30 mins. at best. The juggler/comedian was great. He was very entertaining. The Super Star entertainment was really enjoyable also. It was Karaoke with a live band. There were some really talented people on the ship that Carnival should consider hiring compared to their current entertainment staff. The magician was awful. You could barely understand anything he was saying with his heavy foreign accent and the trick we watched with the invisible deck of cards was really bad. There was no dance music unless you wanted to go to the disco lounge which wasn’t very busy due to the predominately senior crowd. Ports of Call/Excursions – the itinerary was changed during our trip and instead of stopping at Belize we went to Costa Maya, which actually from what I understand was a good thing. The other ports Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Routan were nice, but typical of most cruise ports, just shops. The excursions were pricy and if you look at what you get for your money, many of then you have paid a bunch of money for a couple of hour bus ride to and from the excursion site. In summary, it was good to get away to some warmer weather and to relax, but I really don’t think I will spend my money with another Carnival cruise unless the reviews get better. The gratuities are automatically added to your bill, so regardless of service you have no choice. If I was getting the same level of service/entertainment/food elsewhere I wouldn’t have been inclined to pay what I did for this cruise.

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Oct 8, 2010

Western Caribbean

The trip was for 7 night in the western Caribbean. We missed one port of call, Grand Cayman due to the weather. We were compensated the port taxes only of about $15.00 and spent an extra day at sea. I wish we could have gone to another port . Overall, the trip was fine. We had good food and really good entertainment. Service level of the employees is excellent. This is our second trip on The Legend in 2 years. The food was great. We opted for

the dining at our leisure so we would not be pushed to strict schedules. It was a bit disappointing to see that you now pay extra if you want sushi. Two years ago it was included as a part of the dining on the lido deck. Service was exceptional.The only negative was a waiter we had in the open dining one night made weak excuses about the reason my food was cold. He offered no resolution so we merely requested another waiter. Problem was solved. Cabin was clean and our Steward was attentive and accommodating and always had a great attitude. The TV stations are very limited and one movie was shown over and over the entire cruise. The entertainment was more than we expected. The Mardi Gras Show was exciting and as good as a Broadway show. The physical comedian was a big hit with my family. Also the table magician we came to know was quite good. During the day, I felt the entertainment options were not the greatest. I would have enjoyed a movie or perhaps some interactive games during the day that didn't include hairy chest. Our 13 year old grandson was a bit board at times during sea days. Although he signed up for the Young Teen program, for some reason they were never in the area with the Wii games or meeting area. So he was had to participate with adults in contests and games. The excursions are a bit pricey for our family. So we book our own and get a far better deal. We have taken some of them in the past and they were fine, but we are not opposed to booking on our own at a far better price. This trip was to celebrate our grandson's 13th birthday. He had a great time. Since we took this same cruise 2 years ago, we did not experience the element of surprise this time. But we are not disappointed in any way. Cruising is still the best bargain for a vacation.

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By Tara_CR

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Sep 9, 2010

Western Carribean

The cruise had several pros and cons for me. I can't say enough about the service we received on the ship. In fact, I have never received such good service on land. For me, the attention paid to me by the staff was the hi-light of my vacation. Unfortunately, I was sadly disappointed in the ports that we visited. Grand Cayman was flat and unappealing. The water park we visited in Cozumel was a complete waste of money. Roatan was a blast. We hired a

tour guide from Bowden Tours and were taken anywhere we wanted to go. Belize City was the most depressing and poverty stricken place I have ever visited. The temperature and humidity were unbearable. Took a city tour and went to the ruins. The tour was very informative, perhaps too much so. Our tour guide didn't stop talking for an hour and a half. Just way too much info - and I'm a trivia nut!! The food in the dining room was excellent and the service couldn't have been any better. After one night, our waitress, Desi, was calling us by name and remembering our preferences. We had the early dinner. If I had it to do over again, I would choose the later one. Some days we didn't get back to the ship until 5, were worn out, and the last thing we wanted to do was to have to rush to shower and dress for dinner. Initially, we really enjoyed the food from the various buffets. After a week, it started to taste like cafeteria food. The room was fine. We had 3 single beds in there, and there was still room to maneuver. The best thing about our room was the shower (to die for), the balcony, and the attention that was given to the room by the staff. Every night we came back to our room to find our beds turned down, a candy on the pillow for each of us, and a unique towel animal. We couldn't wait to get back to the room each night to find out what the new animal would be. In fact, we took a picture of every one of them. The last day of the trip you can buy a book that tells you how to make them. (My mother bought one!) There were activities to keep one busy just about every minute of every day. I should have partaken in more of them, but I ended up spending most of my free time in the casino. Jen, the cruise director was great. We did play bingo, listened to karaoke, went to 2 shows, and listened to the comedian (even though I'm 55, I was embarrassed to hear some of the material beside my 86 year old mother. I would love to cruise again. Next time, however, I will try to visit ports that are not so poverty stricken. Belize City really put a damper on our vacation.

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By cj_CR

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Aug 30, 2010

western carribbean

The ship was dark during the day, low ceilings gave the closed in feeling. Night and turn on lights made the decor liven up. The traditional stage shows were at a minimum. "Comics" were a mainstay of the entertainment, I guess some of the comedy escaped me. Swimming pools were extrememly small.....large hot tub size for the adults only area. Cruising is suppose to be top knotch vacationing. I was very disappointed that the carts, buckets

of cleaning water, and vaccuum cleaner were in the hallways by my cabin each night when I returned from shore excursions and they were still there after dinner. How unappealing this was to walk through. The stewards were often no where to be found either, so why was there stuff still there? Good selection. Glad the meats and fish were not covered with sauces. Fine, Loved the balcony Lacking for those who had late dining. Seems most of the evening activities were catering to the early diners. Comedians were not funny. You have to make your own choices on this one due to expense and interest. Loved the sea turtles and stingrays in Grand Cayman, Reef snorkling in Belize was great too. Western Carribbean. Great time. Had to rest after returning home because I was so busy. Busy not necessarily due to ship/excursion offerings but due to my own agenda.

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Jul 19, 2010

western carribean

Had a very fine time. Excellent service from staff, especially dining staff. Food was good, ship was clean and well organized. Time to relax as well as go on excursions. What I did not like was being told that it was not safe to go into Belize as it was 'unsafe" so we either had to go on a tour or stay on the boat that day. very good. We ate almost all our meals in the dining room and found the variety and quality good. Had an excellent wait

staff who were efficient, pleasant, and very accomodating (even got 2 dinners one night when I couldn't decide). Enjoyed the ice cream sundaes and pizza throughout the day... Room itself was average, but it was kept very clean and towels were changed twice a day. Ice was filled a number of times throughout the day. Bed was excellent, as were the linens. Best aspect of the room was the balcony. On prior cruise we did not have one, and I would highly recommend it. Used it during the day to relax and read, and took a bungie cord so we could keep it open at night and sleep with the sea breeze. Many acvtivities going on throughout the day. We went to a few evening shows which were enjoyable; otherwise just hung out by the pool/hot tub which was very pleasant. Gym was good, and equipment was in good condition. Classes were held at the gym but the ones I would have taken cost $12 each, which I felt was excessive. Stay away from the snorkeling at Cayman Islands - the boat went a total of a quarter mile in/out from the dock, no refreshments, no guides for snorkeling. Could have walked out from shore and saved $49 each. On the other hand, we snorkeled in Roatan and Belize and both were excellent trips with much attention/guidance from the staff and an excellent lunch included in Roatan. Beautiful snorkeling locations with many corals, fish, etc. In Cozumel we went on the Tulum ruins excursion. Excellent trip, although long & hot. Went to a very good local crafts store along the route, and then time to explore the ruins and swim at the site. Had an excellent guide and overall an excellent experience.

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Feb 20, 2010

western caribbean

One of the best cruises I've taken. Service and food were superior. There are lots of things for kids to enjoy so that the parents and the kids can enjoy the experience with plenty of "private time." Our cruise was in November. I am comparing this to a cruise around New Zealand on Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas, which my companion and I went from New Year's till a couple of weeks ago. Although the service was wonderful, the food was

not as good as the Legend's. Shore excursions were good on both trips. Onboard activities on the Legend were a lot of fun and the entertainment was just that. On the Rhapsody, however, the Cruise Directors were over the top. I should mention that the only disappointment on the Legend were the on-shore shopping shills. Also, if you don't want to take advantage of the "official shore excursions" there are ways to bargain with local tours for better prices and the not so commercial areas; its always more fun and you can even rent your own private van with a tour guide for the interiors of the ports of call. In the Western Caribbean we visited Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize and my favorite, the island of Roatan in Honduras. What may enhance your enjoyment would be to check the seasonal and regional weather forecasts. It's no fun if its raining or if you're trying to avoid a hurricane during the summer and early autumn months, I took so many excursions I can't remember them all (the two cruises were pretty close together. Carnival's food is superior. Royal Caribbean's - not so much. Dining services were very good on both ships. Canival's were bigger and more comfortable. Stewards couldn't have been more accomodating. There were so many things to do offshore in a week's time that I didn't do much, but from other passengers who did take advantage of the activities they reported lots of fun. Really study what's offered. Some are pretty expensive and others less - also you may want to do more than one thing on a day where you are on-shore hours are all day but the excursions times may not allow you to do what your could/should be able to enjoy. Also you have the option to take the prearranged shore excursions or hire your own personal tour guide; Prices are negotiable in most instances. The advantage is that it's easy to stay near the commercial areas are ( for which the ship gets kickbacks from the stores they take to to, but the private tours can take you to the "real" areas inland, and its fun to sample local foods rather than McDonald's as well as getting a more authentic experience whatever the port. Since our cruise was only a week long things were pretty intense and lots of fun. Passengers were friendly and from all over the place. Staff, too, were from all over the world; as a matter of fact there were not many from the same country. Their English is both understandable and understood, so don't worry about communications. One other thing - many of us have computers or may use the IT sections of WiFi access. Find out about the costs before you blithely sit down for 15 minutes to check your emails, etc. Although you can buy some discounted time packages you really don't save that much. Personally I prefer to go ashore and find an internet cafe, which charge $4-5 per hour. Huge savings there. Basically its economics; ships have to make profits and that's one way to do it, just as hotel's do. Also, check the weather forecasts, both local and seasonal. I really had fun on this cruise, and I've been on lots, so go ahead and take a Carnival Cruise. Cruising is definitely the most affordable way to travel - think about it; you have your great meals, transportation and different ports all the time. The kids will love it too.

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Feb 17, 2010

Western Caribbean

This was our first cruise with Carnival. The Legend is showing wear and tear but for the price it was acceptable. We purchased an extended balcony cabin that was well worth the extra $$. That being said, be sure you're not located above any of the clubs - the noise is horrible until at least 1 AM. All of the attendants are extremely polite and work very hard to make your cruise as comfortable as possible. Our room Stewart, Herald, was fabulous.

Unfortunately, the weather kicked into nasty gear on the long leg back to Tampa and the ship developed engine trouble allowing us to cruise at only 13 knots - not enough to push us through the waves but rather to roll up and down. I understand that several hundred were ill. Rather wished I could die. Carnival was not in control of the weather, but the way the delay was handled bordered on negligent. We received minimal information on how long we would be delayed and no help with requests for assistance on flights, etc. Naturally, their internet was jammed, our cell phones didn't work, long lines at Guest Services that took hours only to be told to come back when we had our flights settled. Once we had some standby flights info, we waited all of the last day without receiving a hotel voucher for that night. At the last moment we went again to Guest Services to check and it was promptly printed out! Everyone was so frustrated. What if we'd had to get on life boats? Two young couples walking off the ship ahead of us were leaving with no voucher and had no idea where to go except to sit at the airport. And from the Captain, "thank you for your patience and for sailing with Carnival." The best part - they were turning that ship around and sending it back out! Never again. The food was good but not fantastic. Our stateroom was always clean and comfortable, but all in all they are pretty plain. The bathroom - especially the shower - is larger than other cruise lines we've been on and that was a pleasant surprise. We took a glass bottom boat excursion in Cozumel which was about $40 each and well worth it. The Mayan ruins and Wallace river tour in Belize is very informative, about $100 each, lasts about 6 hours. The guides have groups of about 25 so you're not in a huge herd and they provide a good background about the country, politics, people and it's history. The river portion is pretty slow and easy and they work hard to spot the wildlife. We saw howler monkeys, Crocs, manatees, great blue herons, iguanas and tropical birds. The ports were very nice with Roatan being a surprise. We'd been there several years ago shortly after the hurricane went through and it is remarkably lovely now. Lush and green and very, very hot.

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Jun 30, 2009

Western Caribbean

My overall cruise experience on the Legend was very good. Although, I would say that the service on the ship was very good, I did feel like there were some areas that could have been better. The really good service came from the bar and wait staff on the lido deck, as well as the food service there. The formal dinning service was shaky to start but got much better as we went along, so I still give them a passing grade. Previously (9 years ago)

I cruised on the Carnival Triumph and never noticed room service trays, glasses, cans and or bottles left in the hall overnight or throughout the day. On the Legend, I only had to ask for fresh towels one time. The quality of the food no matter where you ate, in my opinion was great! The staff I came in contact with in the casino did a great job. My final observation was that the photo staff were a bit hard to deal with, both photographers and at the desk. Now, having said that, I still give the Carnival Legend a passing grade. The food was really good! In the Truffels Dinning Room...Get The Ribs! On The Lido Deck, everything was very good. My stateroom was just fine. There were plenty of onboard activities. we were never in need of something to do. Stingray Beach in Grand Cayman was great. Our guide really spent lots of time with everyone. I didn't have a good experience on Rum Point Beach but I seemed to be the only one so I guess it was just me. DO NOT MISS the 360 Twister and the trip to Passion Isle. Passion Isle may be the best beach I've ever been to and the 360 TWISTER boat ride that gets you there will be the best boat ride you've ever had. On Roatan Island I enjoyed the Kayak and snorkeling. Even with my few complaints our trip was great. It was a sad day when we had to leave the Legend. Also, the ships Captain and crew did a fantastic job of out running a tropical depression and kept everyting in order.

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Oct 18, 2008

Western Caribean

We loved this cruise ship. The itinerary of the stops were awesome. We went for our honeymoon and were very excited that our waiter sang us a Happy Honeymoon song. They really went above and beyond to make our trip special to us. It was just okay. I was expecting it to be amazing and was a little disappointed by the food. This cruise ship did have a lot of different choices though which really helped. It was nice ordering room service!

We did get really sick the last night and we think it was because of something we ate... Awesome! We got a balcony suite and I would recommend to everyone to get one. It was so romantic to sit outside and eat breakfast on the balcony. There is always something to do. It's your choice if you are bored. Don't miss the Mayan Ruins, or the Shipwreck excursion at Grand Cayman. The Coral Reef at Belize is beautiful!! We had a wonderful honeymoon! Glad we picked Carnival Legend!

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Feb 20, 2008

Southern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Southern Caribbean Les Weir This was our 3rd cruise with Carnival Cruise lines and I honestly cannot say anything negative about Carnival and their service. We chose this particular cruise because it stopped at a couple of locations that we had not been to on previous cruises (St Lucia and St Kitts). We also chose it because it had two days at sea going to the islands and two days

back again to Fort Lauderdale, which we always enjoy immensely. Embarkation was very well organized as always. We had a very nice surprise on arrival. We had booked an obstructed view, outside cabin (budget dictated) and were advised that we had been upgraded to a balcony. In 8 cruises this was a first for us and it will make it really difficult to go back to an inside again and even, possibly, to another cruise line. Our first surprise came when we entered our cabin. There was luggage on the bed and there appeared to be people on our balcony. I went to the door of the balcony and almost caused the couple there a heart attack as we walked out on to the balcony. They quickly confirmed that they also had been booked into that room so we called the Pursers desk to clarify. The gentleman there pretty much told us that this could not possibly be the case and had to attend in person to verify. To make a long story short they had indeed made a mistake as the couple in the room had also been upgraded to a suite and, because they boarded early, had not been advised of same. I offered to take the suite as they appeared to be settled in, but, for some reason, they declined. We met and chatted with this couple several times throughout the cruise so the event was not a lost cause. Our inconvenience was later rewarded with a complimentary bottle of wine. Without going into boring detail, the remainder of the cruise was idyllic. The weather was fantastic, the food was great, the Casino was not good (as it does on most ships) St Lucia and St Kitts was interesting and typical of the Caribbean so I probably will not rush back there. Overall, Carnival made this a cruise to remember with extremely personable staff, gourmet dining, a view from our balcony that we will be ever thankful for, with breakfasts as the sun rose and cocktails as the sun set while the ocean lazily sailed by. Debarkation was a breeze and well organized. Will I sail with Carnival Cruise Lines again? You bet I will!!!    

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Jun 16, 2007

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Western Caribbean Jim McFaul My family of five just returned from the Legend trip June 17- June 24, 2007. It was our first cruise and we attended a family reunion with 20 people total. To say the least a cruise is like no other vacation. We are still talking about and when our family gets together again I’m sure we’ll continue to share the great moments. Legend has nice staterooms

with a view. Easy to get around and the crew was great. Fabulous food with the formal meals each night and highlighted by the servers and staff’s “Showtime” with song and dance. What fun to see our servers singing and dancing on tables and leading us in a conga line! Plenty to do on board with games, trivia contest, shows, comedians, galley tour, casino, midnight buffet, bath rope party, and a fantastic band that performs every night during their nightly performances. The Follies Lounge. Captain’s reception had complimentary drinks and food. Plenty of shops on board with sales on jewelry, clothes, etc. Also nightly drink specials, but beware - drinks are pricey. Expect to pay $5.75 for domestic beer. Regarding shore excursions…Grand Cayman was unique with the British influence. We decided to just go to 7 mile beach and relax. Then lunch at Senor Frog’s for lively entertainment. Cozumel was clear kayaking and snorkeling. I was amazed by the clear waters and beautiful sea life. Belize we did city tour and zoo with a local tour guide in a mini-van. Costa Maya we visited the Mayan ruins and were intrigued by the culture and excavated ruins. All ports have a variety of shops to choose from right at the pier, but most piers are close to local stores and restaurants outside the perimeter of the pier. So in Cozumel you can get a Mexican beer for $1.50 and a large bottle of Kaluha for only $12 (duty free.) Days at sea there is time for games, pool or just relaxation. And of course more great food. NOTES: --My children are 18, 16 and 12 and did not participate in any organized kids’ programs. They just enjoyed the freedom of being onboard doing there own thing with the cousins and other relatives. --Shore excursion can be booked anytime on board with Carnival. Plenty to choose from. Might be a bit cheaper on shore with local providers but it can become confusing when you really don’t know what you want to do and you are approached by so many local people to sell their own packages. --Snorkeling is fantastic in the Caribbean but you should consider the Barrier Reef, which we did NOT do. Ours was from the shore and did not see the best. So in Belize or Costa Maya take the excursion that includes shuttle to the reefs. -- Rough seas out of Belize with 50 mph winds so being on deck was kind of exciting, but several us became slightly seasick. In closing the best vacation I have ever had! Can’t really compare it with the traditional vacation on land. Was it perfect? Almost!! Do it again? I hope so!    

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May 5, 2007

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Western Caribbean Michael Farmer I must admit that after reading some reviews concerning the Carnival Legend I was a bit concerned as what to expect. But after returning from what Carnival lists as the 7 day Exotic Western Caribbean cruise, I am very pleased with my choice. Being that this was my first cruise and will definitely not be my last, I have no other cruises to build my

expectations on other than what I have read online. But here is what I encountered. After much research and input from friends who have cruised in the past, I opted to drive to Tampa and book an inside cabin. Being that I live in North Carolina, it wasn't a bad drive and learning that Carnival was going to charge me what I consider too much for airfare I drove. And after talking to others about the room choices I could make, I booked an inside cabin, and was very pleased. Besides, how much time was I going to spend in the cabin? I didn't need a balcony, I had the whole ship! Arrival at Tampa Port seemed hectic when I pulled up, and there was some confusion where to park. I had to stop and ask an attendant who was very nice. I parked, took my luggage to a very nice porter who I tipped and was pointed in the direction of the line of others that was waiting to get on board. The line moved smoothly and everyone was very helpful. Since I had booked the cruise only 2 months before the sail date, I didn't have a chance to get my passport and used my certified copy of my birth certificate which made me nervous instead. But everything was processed with no problems. The lady at the counter was very friendly and actually entertaining after I told her it was my first cruise. Since we where early in arrival, we had to wait in the waiting area before being allowed to board the ship, but once they called us by group numbers, we had our pictures taken and off we went. Once on board we where pointed in the right direction, and I found my room easily. But since we where early, we ate lunch in the Unicorn Café. Now I had heard all kind of things about the food on a cruise, about the abundance, the variety, and the quality. Once again I was pleased and very impressed. Once we where given the OK to go to our rooms and check them out, I put my stuff in the room and out to the deck I went to watch as the ship sailed off. Later that evening an announcement was made that a mandatory muster drill was to take place and everyone must attend. So I headed for the room to gather my life vest and followed the directions that where announced over the intercom. After the drill I returned to my room, my luggage had not yet arrived, so I wandered around the ship learning the layout and had dinner in the Unicorn Café on deck 9. The rest of the cruise went without a hitch, but the only time I was disappointed was after discovering that the Tea on board is what I would just call nasty. I decided to purchase the Fountain Fun Card. For those that choose to purchase this card, be prepared to pay the 15% gratuity at time of purchase. From then on I drank Coke. They say that only one drink will be served with the card and to the person who purchased the card, but after a couple of days, some of the servers would let anyone drink off my card that was with me. You have to get your drinks from the bar or a server, but that was no problem. There was only once when I presented my card I was told "this bar is closed" and had to walk to another when the two female attendants had the drinks there ready. The food on the Legend was outstanding! I would have coffee and fresh fruit delivered to my room each morning, which was always on time! I would then go to the Unicorn Café for the rest of my breakfast which consisted of eggs cooked to order with either bacon or ham with a pastry or two. Try the pastries, they are great! I would also eat lunch in the Unicorn Café which was also great! The choices daily seemed to be a buffet with a freshly carved meat such as roast beef, pork, or turkey with all the sides you could want. You could have a freshly made deli style sandwich, which was popular stop so be prepared to wait in line. They had stir-fry which I skipped. Or outside they had burgers or hotdogs with French fries which where also very good! At dinner I would dress up and eat at Truffles which was an adventure in itself. Carnival had made arrangements for my partner and I to be at a table for eight, which I was very apprehensive about. But once we joined the table we where at ease, there was another same sex couple there also, so we fit right in. The only thing that disturbed me about my dinner partners was after the first night they never returned, leaving just us two couples there. But being in this lifestyle I am used to such ignorance, their loss not mine! The food in Truffles was outstanding, and like everywhere else, you can eat as much as you want. I was very pleased with the selection, each night I tried something different and always left full. The Maitre D stopped by the table nightly to make sure everything was ok which made for a very nice touch. And each night the servers would sing and dance which was also a very nice addition. Now I had seen this in the advertisement for Carnival and said "They'll never get me to do that", but boy was I wrong, once they start you can't help but to get up and join in, I am not very shy in front of people. The ports we stopped at where Georgetown Grand Cayman, Cozumel Mexico, Belize Central America, and Costa Maya Mexico. We did excursions in each port with the exception of Belize. Take my advice do an excursion here also. In each port we would do our excursion which consisted of snorkeling in Grand Cayman and Costa Maya, and scuba diving in Cozumel. But in Belize I chose to just see the city, take my advice and do not do this! Here's why, when we arrived at Belize, we took the tender boat over and decided to shop at the shops for souvenirs then take a cab to a beach area. But I found out very quickly that the closest beach area was about 10 miles away. So that was out, but when we ventured out the backside of the tourist shops that are all enclosed, we where met with a swarm of people offering to take us on different excursions. Now these people cannot take no for an answer. So you practically have to walk away while they yell at you about their services. Making our way through the swarm of people we walked with a group from our ship and went in a few shops, but I bought nothing. Making our way back to the port, we shopped some more and returned to the ship. So take my advice, do an excursion. Grand Cayman was nice, but remember it is a British owned territory and they drive on the opposite side of the street, so be careful crossing! Snorkeling here was nice, the company we booked through Carnival took us through a quick safety class and then we walked out from shore to waist deep waters and snorkeled out to a shipwreck for about 1 hour and then back to shore. The rest of the time there I went shopping for souvenirs. One thing you must buy there, RUM CAKE! If you don't you will regret it! Cozumel is where I went scuba diving, and since I am not certified I did the beginners which sufficed for me. At port we took a cab, which was also adventurous, and after a safety lesson we had to display what we had learned in the shallow waters and then off we went. For those of you considering taking an excursion as t his, take it. The only thing I had trouble with was learning to regulate the pressure in my ears, but once I did I was fine. It was an adventure. The company took a picture of us and I purchased it on the way back to the ship. Now after my experience in Belize, I booked another snorkeling excursion which I am glad I did. We took a chartered bus ride to the pier, got on a catamaran for a 30 minute ride out into the ocean while receiving a safety lesson. We then dropped a ladder into the water and snorkeled out for about one and a half hours. The scenery here was absolutely breathtaking. I took a camera and took several pictures. The people that run this excursion where some of the nicest you will meet. We then took the catamaran back to the pier, a quick bus ride to the port and some more shopping. Cozumel had to be the best place we visited, it had everything right there, excursions, shopping, eating, drinking, and relaxing on the beach. After shopping we found a nice place by the pool to lie in the sun. The entertainment on the Legend was outstanding. Every night we had something different to do. Several nights we gambled in the casino, which I won $125.00! The other nights we would bypass the casino and catch one of the great shows in Follies Lounge, One word of advice, be there 30 minutes early just to get a good seat. Some nights we would leave to come back to a later showing because the only seats we could get had an obstructed view. There where jugglers, a magician, and a comedian who also did an adults only show which was hilarious! And believe me it was adults only! On this cruise I celebrated a birthday, I made friends on this trip and the night of my birthday we went to Medusa Lair to dance the night away. Now this night was near the end of the cruise so there was some of the staff there also. Now I have always considered my self to be kind of hip so the music was not that bad. The only thing that puzzled me was why did the dance floor have what to appear a several thousand dollar light show, and none was being used? The floor had lights underneath it, but they never where turned on. There where lights above the dance floor, never turned on. What a waste! The only lights used which where a nice touch was the wall behind the dance floor that changed scenery to fit the music. But we still had a blast dancing till early morning. One night there was a deck party on deck 9 and we all wore our robes and the kitchen catered a Mexican theme while we danced to a calypso band. If they continue this, and you catch it, join in! I was impressed how the ship was designed and each room had a different theme accounting for legends throughout history. My room was just right, and was kept spotless by my steward Victor. I tipped him extra. It was nice how he knew our intentions. The night we boarded, we brought along some sparkling grape juice since we don't drink but we wanted to still have that feeling of celebrating. We placed our bottle in the refrigerator to chill which was not going to well, so I placed the bottle in the ice bucket that was in the room. But when we returned that night, Victor had placed the bottle in a separate bucket of ice along with two champagne glasses, how nice. So we drank the bottle by the pool on deck 9. Passerby's never knew the difference Ha! All in all I had a fabulous time and have already booked another cruise for May 2008 on the Victory to San Juan Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. Would I recommend this cruise or Carnival to others? Yes, I already have.    

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Mar 31, 2007

Southern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Southern Caribbean Lael Hazen Pros: Good amount of elevators and good people flow. Restaurant staff is great with kids. Category 11 is terrific for those traveling with children. The diversity and quality of the food was surprisingly good. The balconies were large enough and the rails were high enough so you didn't seem trapped. No rush, painless, debarkation (we could stay in our

rooms until we got off and breakfast went until 9:30 so we could miss the crowds). There were a LOT of photographers. This could be annoying; however, it also meant that you could always get a picture whenever you and your family were ready. We got some great ones of our girls. Cons and/or items I wished I knew before the cruise: No deck chairs on the promenade deck!!!!!!! We liked to hang out there but couldn't. Also the lounge chairs weren't the most comfortable. I'm thinking of bringing my own next time. Lack of hangers (bring your own). One outlet for the entire cabin, and they make you "rent" a strip cord. No conditioner (the soap bottle in the bath felt cheap). The pursers were.....stiff. One actually told me that we couldn't compare Carnival to Princess or Royal Caribbean (this was when I was trying to get a strip cord for my daughters' nebulizer... why can't we compare?). The kids club was fine but not extraordinary. They let the children watch a lot of movies and TV. We ended up only putting our 31/2 year old in for the two sea day mornings and one port day and our older one went only two mornings. Oh well.... I didn't think the staff was all that fantastic, but they did try. The entertainment was fine although our children like more "shows". The casino had a lot of smoke and is in the middle of the ship so you and your kids must walk through it. We went to three ports. We really liked the snorkeling catamaran excursion on St. Lucia. Our 8 year old saw a lobster and sea turtle. Our youngest enjoyed the butterfly garden on St. Maarten. This we did on our own. It was fine to rent a taxi and then pay the admission fee. It was also A LOT cheaper than going through the cruise. All in all it was a fine cruise and good value. I'd book again with Carnival. It wasn't pretentious and most of the staff was helpful and friendly. We like sea days and going on LONGER cruises i.e.: 10 nights; it is a shame that Carnival doesn't seem to have longer cruises. This ship really was great value for the money.    

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Mar 22, 2007

Southern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Southern Caribbean Bruce The ship is Carnival, pretty basic, but worth the price, food and service were much better than last Carnival trip. VIP Pass is recommended if you can get one do so, I was on board in minutes, lunching and drinking while the line went on forever. Getting off is a breeze as well. Bring the cigars home if you want them! I only cruise for my teenage sons, always

plenty of teens their age, perfect vacation and they stay out late at night. Had an extended Balcony suite for four, plenty of room, one bed is hung from the ceiling and goes up during the day so the room is fine for four. The ports. We booked local tour guides suggested by TammLynn who had written a previous cruise review (thanks TammLynn). We also got the same tours with more personalized attention for a lot less money. The lack of a huge group was a bonus! Colon, Panama We also went with Mario of myfriendmario on the tour. I made a reservation with him by email and went on the equivalent of Carnival's grand tour to the Indian village and the Gutan locks. It is a long tour because you have to go into a remote part of Panama for the Indian village which makes for a very interesting drive. Our guide was really great and made sure we were back in time (we even had 30 minutes to shop at the port). Unlike the Carnival tour we also got to climb up a waterfall and go for a swim which was really refreshing! Since we had about 25 people in our group, he charged us $60 per person (smaller groups may be slightly more). The ship charged $145 per person. This is his email mario@myfriendmario.com Limon, Costa Rica We went with Charlie Soto tours here to the Jungle Breeze zip line (Awesome!) 16 Lines we went down, I believe the Cruise does only 4. The price was $89 per person (the ship charges $135 for the zip line tour) I would recommend these guys as well. The email address is okeydokeytours@hotmail.com Charlie is extremely accommodating and personally escorted us back to town as we only wanted the zip line tour, he gave us a nice sight seeing trip back and pointed out some good shops. Belize City, Belize We went with Timmy at CAVE-TUBING.COM. This is a really funny family guy (3 kids) who responded to all questions. He made it a point to give us exactly the tour we wanted. We went through 2 caves (quite an experience). What was really incredible was the hundreds of Carnival cruisers on their shore excursion pouring into the water all clustered together in a huge noisy group going through only the second cave, they got half the tour at twice the price, you will hear that motto from these guys the whole trip. Cost $45-55 per person depending on group size (Carnival charges $85 per person). The ride back on the bus was a hoot, big bus, narrow roads, but they make it quite fun. Key points, no bug spray needed on any of these tours, that was a waste of money and extra to carry. All 3 tours provided cold water, soda and beer, so we never were thirsty. Zip line place has a nice little outside bar at the last line, cold beer extremely cheap.    

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Dec 18, 2006

Southern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Southern Caribbean Teresa Hershey This was our third cruise with Carnival and the second on a Spirit class ship (last year was the Miracle). This ship was clean, modern and well kept. The cabin stewards and the food staff were awesome. All in all the cruise was a wonderful Christmas experience. All that being said, I thought I would write a review with a different twist. Since we met

numerous people that had not previously cruised, we thought we would write a review with their perspective in mind. First off, tours -- you do not have to pay the overpriced tour cost Carnival offers. Bare in mind that they utilize the same tour companies that you can hire on your own. We always purchased tours on the dock or internet and in 6 cruises we have always had a great experience. First off, only go with operators at the dock and don’t go with anyone you feel uncomfortable with. Also, it is customary (except Costa Rica) to pay for the tour after it is complete. Use common sense, no large amounts of cash, flashy jewelry, etc. We paid $20.00 for the canal tour in Panama, this was with a private minivan and very comfortable, with the tip of $20.00 it was only $120.00 for 5! In Costa Rica we went to the banana plantation, butterfly farm, riverboat cruise, and beach for $35.00 per person (5 ½ hours) with tip, all 5 for $200.00! And Belize we went to the Mayan ruins for $30.00 per person -- We saved thousands!!! Beverage service - first, kids and heavy soda drinkers - get the drink card, worth every penny. Otherwise, carry onto the ship what you want to drink. Carnival will let you carry on any quantity of soda, mixers, wine, etc. Put this in you checked baggage and be smart about it, don’t make a 200 pound bag, mix it between your bags. Also, pack you favorite liquor and mix you drinks in the cabin. They will be better drinks and you will save a fortune. Food - we met several people that actually shared their meals so that the could taste what each tasted like. If you want two entrée’s, ask for them. As long as you are eating the food, and not being stupid, the dining room staff will bring you anything you ask for. The two shrimp cocktails my daughter had EVERY night became standard fare. Also, if you starve on one of these ships, it’s your fault! The daily themes are great and the Mexican day was out of this world. Also, the breakfast bars cook omelet’s and cook to order eggs - many people don’t realize this and get the same stuff every day. I would get four eggs, sunny side up with broken yokes and cheese sprinkled over the top - no problem! These guys are great! The sushi bar, every night between 5 and 8, the stuff is cute, tastes ok, but leaves much to be desired. I lived in Japan and travel there frequently, nothing like this in Japan - I wish they would just do simple rolls or nice sashimi. But, it’s better than nothing. Pizza bar, room service and the buffets are all standard fare, nothing great, but nice to have. The Grill is one of the best things going. My pastrami on rye was always great and the smoked salmon with bagel is out of this world. Purser’s desk, the staff of this desk were incompetent and should be fired. If you have any dealings with them, document names and plan on going back. Request everything twice, and watch with humor as they struggle through the simplest requests. No sense tarnishing this review. Kids and teens clubs - These are nice, but, if your kids are not in the same age group (12-14 or 15-17) then it is very likely they will have nothing to do with each other during this cruise. And if you have one over 18 and 1 under, well - too bad. The segregation is well intended, but it really does put a damper on the trip. We have 3 kids - 14, 16 and 19 and they could not dance together anywhere unless you count the Lido deck with the sill “quack-quack” and electric slide music, or the Satchimo’s with 80’s soft listening. My kids like to dance, they like the new sounds and yet they did not have a chance at being together this entire 9 days! That really ruined it for them and for that reason we will spend our $10K with another line next year. Carnival - take note, let parents decide where their kids dance and what they do -- Karaoke, Vinz Brown - what a treat he was - definitely the wrong person for this type of activity. He liked taking “music breaks” and singing -- all this while the paying customers sat in wait. Then his jokes, don’t take offense to his scolding you about being on vacation - I think he is just trying to be funny… Also, what is with the over 18 only being aloud to sing? I can see policing the venue, keeps the little kids from sing “who let the dogs out” and not realizing there is more to the song than just barking. But isn’t that why Vinzy is there, to make it go smoothly? Drop the age limit, let the crowd decide and let all participate. My kids have some great vocal talent, but then again - they weren’t allowed. Also, Vinz, maybe spend an hour or two and clean those song books up, organize them and put them in order. Cabins, The rooms were great. We always get two and adjoin them through the balcony. We had a bit of a problem getting them to open the doors, once done all was smooth. The Cat 11’s are really the only way to go. The rooms are comfortable and having a bath tub is a nice touch. They are roomy enough and the beds are very comfortable. The VCR’s are there why? No library of tapes and aren’t DVD’s the new VCR??? Anyway, the TV and channels are adequate and if you need more than they offer, maybe you should just stay home. The refrigerator would have been nice to have, but it is packed with mini bar stuff, so --- The stewards were AWESOME, best we have ever had. All in all, the rooms are nice and no complaints other than the water pressure on the showers. Do not plan on enjoying a shower on this cruise, the water pressure is non-existent -- Carnival really needs to fix that. In closing, I think Carnival is trying to cater to the older crowd and trying to shake their "fun ship" reputation - what a shame, there are enough stuffy cruise lines out there - wish they would be what they were - FUN!!!    

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Nov 16, 2006

Southern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Southern Caribbean Patricia MacDuff This was only our second cruise; the first being a 4-day cruise to Cozumel on Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas. My husband had to talk me into a Carnival Cruise as I had the impression of Carnival catering to a lower class of personnel, college-age kids, and lots of families. My husband and I are in our late 50's so a ship filled with "party

goers" was not my idea of a good time. However, I am writing this review as I was impressed from the embarkation all through the trip. I would say the median age of guests was mid 50's, all the people we met were enjoyable and interesting, and while there was enough to do, if you just wanted to sit and read, there were plenty of people doing that, too. I can't say enough about the quality of the food, the Carnival staff, the cleanliness of the ship and our room, and the friendly ambience throughout. I would definitely recommend this cruise--particularly to those interested in more of a cultural experience than just island hopping. And, we would definitely sail on Carnival again!    

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Nov 8, 2006

Southern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Southern Caribbean Jerry Herrmann We sailed on the Carnival Legend from Fort Lauderdale on 11/08/2006. This was an 8 day cruise billed as “Southern Caribbean” with ports of call at St. Maarten, Barbados and Martinique and in that order. St. Maarten never fails to disappoint anyone because of its charm, however, the St. Maarten stop coincided with their National Holiday which

meant that all of the downtown shops were closed with only several remote shops at the pier available. This poor planning meant that the only port with any credible shopping possibilities was essentially closed. Carnival had to know years in advance that this port call would fall on this national holiday and with minimal effort could have rearranged the port call sequence to avoid this error but never did so. Instead they announced this fact and expressed their regrets at the initial passenger briefing. Martinique is probably the most picturesque, but length of stay coupled with a lack of shopping opportunity and its disdain for US Dollars, made its port value questionable. Barbados is Barbados. This was our fifth Carnival cruise and the ship was the most tastefully decorated Carnival ship we have experienced. The showers and the beds are absolutely outstanding. The tour director and his staff, however, were the weakest we have experienced on Carnival. There was more passenger face time with the ship’s master than the cruise director. The food service was average but, nevertheless, was also the weakest of the five Carnival cruises taken. The entertainment staff managed to live up to Carnival’s standard with apparent wide approval from most of the passengers. The shipboard TV programming choices need much improvement. Carnival emphasizes the importance of “ship’s time” to all passengers yet uses Denver, Colorado TV stations to deliver NBC, CBS and ABC content. That poor choice puts all TV content 2 hours out of sync with programming on the East Coast which is the standard for “ship’s time”. Not sure what value that choice adds as we never did meet any passengers from Colorado although I’m sure there were probably several. CNN is also included but Fox News was not, and Carnival seems deaf on responding to any recommendations to include it. Half of the programming schedules are devoted to Cruise video again, again and again and “local shows” performed by the untalented cruise director staff. One thing consistent across all five cruises has been the very annoying game of dividing the passengers into three arbitrary “RED” , “WHITE” and “BLUE” teams all of which accumulate rather arbitrary points for successes in the various activities aboard ship. We sort of liked that on our first cruise but must say that our appreciation diminished consistently over the next four. It’s a corny idea. Carnival, give it up.    

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Nov 8, 2006

Southern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Southern Caribbean Vincent Finelli This was our second cruise on the Carnival Legend, sister ship to the Spirit, the Pride and the Miracle. Thus, we know our way around the Spirit class ships, which were built in cookie cutter fashion and all have the exact same layout. It was three years ago, when we first sailed on the Legend and we are happy to report that under the very amiable

Hotel Director Ms. Shahnaz Kashanipour, the ship is just as pristine as ever! Captain Roberto Volpi commands her with special grace. He places the passengers safety and well being above all. When leaving the beautiful island of St. Maarten, he made a U-turn and returned to the island to disembark a very sick passenger who required hospitalization. We were surprised, when watching the patient's transference, that it was the same elderly gentleman who felt ill in Ft. Lauderdale, just before departure. Commandant Volpi makes sound swift decisions: a trait to be admired in the head person on board. This review will be brief and to the point, since we have already published a review on this ship (see Carnival Legend, March 2003) and furthermore, this is a holiday week and only a few days before our next cruise on the Norwegian Jewel. EMBARKATION Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, FL is very handy for us, only one half hour from our home in Boca Raton. For a Wednesday or mid week departure I-95 had more traffic than usual, but still no long delays. Boarding Passes were given out on Pier 21 and then security was done inside: 5 minutes for the passes, 5 minutes for security and then a ten minute wait for the elevator to the second floor. Wheelchair passengers and VIPs were sent on ahead to a waiting area. Twenty minutes later the ship was cleared and we were aboard -- a total of 40 minutes. Excellent. We went to meet Maitre D' Tihomir Brdar (Tom), a wonderfully accommodating and handsome gentleman who gave us a table for two, near the entrance of the Truffles Restaurant. We had lunch at the Unicorn Cafe, Lido Deck 9, and were back in our Stateroom #6273 resting until the mandatory Life Boat Drill at 3:30pm. Sail away was just after 4:00pm. SHIP The Carnival Legend is 86,000 gross tons, her length is 959 ft., her beam 106 ft. and her height is 199 ft. keel to mast, with a draft of only 26 ft.. Her maximum speed is 24 knots. This is a lovely graceful white ship, sporting the familiar Carnival whale tail on top. The homogeneity exhibited on the outside of Carnival ships is not apparent at all on the inside. Architect Joseph Farcus' theme of legends for this ship is evidenced by the names of many public areas: Fountain of Youth Spa, Camelot Pool, The Golden Fleece Restaurant, Unicorn Cafe`, Medusa's Lair Club, and the Enchanted Forest walkway; the latter is one of our favorite places since it is a quiet, secluded, indoor walk around the prow of the ship with entrances near the theater. The many silver colored amphorae and the maroon trimmed walls, with the Etruscan Key symbol repeated ad infinitum, are the central foci of this ship and give her an almost morose aspect. However, there are many whimsical touches like the blue and pink Morning Glories depicted on the dining room ceilings and the blue blown glass light fixtures. Yet, in these rooms the real items of note are the vitrines along the walls filled with famous china from around the world (i.e.. the blue and white Royal Danish by the entrance to Truffles is exquisite). However, most passengers glide right by and take little notice of the china. Many public areas and much of the common walkways are marble, which makes the Legend a wheelchair rider's dream -- easy rolling. This ship is just as lovely as when new; great care is given to detail and her condition reflects it. CABIN Stateroom #6273 has orange pine wood cabinetry and a very narrow entry. When entering on the left is a triple armoire; two sections have hangers and the third has shelves with the personal safe. Next, is a lighted mirrored vanity/desk with four draws. There is a cabinet with a refrigerator and two large storage areas. When entering on the right is the compact bathroom with a standard shower, single sink and sufficient shelves for toiletries. Then, there is a peach leather hide a bed, a coffee table, and a queen size bed with peach and beige linens and drapes; orange and red carpeting completes the room. The far wall has a glass door to the balcony. The cabin is long and narrow, while the balcony is narrow and deep. It has a chaise, chair and a small table. Our stewardess Ampika is a very efficient and sweet girl. FOOD & SERVICE We found the service to be excellent on board. Captain Volpi is very visible (i.e., often during his rounds of the ship he converses with the passengers, listening intently to what they have to say). His genial approach is also followed in the dining room by Maitre D' Tom; he and his staff aim to please. We had table #209 with waiter Gabor and his assistant Zoran, who were friendly and intent on pleasing passengers with their light hearted manner. We found the food to be good, but not on par with the Glory, Triumph, or the Liberty where French Chef Georges Blanc has made many improvements. The Carnival Legend did not offer the Blanc novelties, and the menu reminded us of the former standard Carnival fare. In the Golden Fleece Supper Club, the upscale restaurant ($30 per person), the menu was much different than the Truffles dining rooms, especially the entrees. Hostess Ivana was very nice and the waitress Marina served us elegantly on Versace plates. This room is stunning and sits high atop the atrium. Appetizers were chef's chilled tomato soup, California roll, and Carpaccio with Parmigiano Reggiano shavings; salad was spinach, bacon bits and Bleu Cheese dressing. The veal chop was cooked to perfection, as were the lobster tail and fillet Mignon in the Surf & Turf entree, and the best side dish was the sautéed mushrooms. The special dessert was a spectacular caramelized crepe with thinly sliced apples, pistachios and almonds. The only problem is this dessert was so large that it would have been best served as a whole meal. The ambiance in the Golden Fleece was lovely. The live music provided by the duo of singers Patti and Dale was truly wonderful. Food was good all over the ship. Of course, the best meal on board is always at the Captain's table. This cruise we dined with Captain Volpi, his dear childhood friends and the Senior Officers of the Legend: Staff Captain Luca Lazzarino, Environmental Officer Nicola Tonelli, Staff Engineer Giuseppe Seccia and Chief Engineer Nunzio Priolo who, at a passing mention that it was cold in the Truffles Dining Room, immediately called his office and got a quick adjustment to the desired temperature. He invited Vincent to visit the ship's control room, where Vincent was astounded to see the amount of precise information available to the engineers. Mr. Priolo even checked our cabin #6273 and told Vincent it was a comfortable 72 degrees. Yes, service is "Legendary" on board. ENTERTAINMENT Cruise Director Brent Mitchell has a very big job on his hands, but he is surely up to the task. There are tournaments in the Club Merlin Casino: Slots, Texas Hold them Poker, and Blackjack. There is Trivia, Pool side Antics, Golf lessons, Arts & Crafts, Bridge Games, Bingo, Art Auctions, Dance Classes, Tea Time, Sushi Time, Party Music in Satchmo's Club (a beautiful under used area of the ship --- that would make another great alternative dining, i.e. a New Orleans Restaurant or buffet). Show Time is in the theater every night, and Teen Dances, Adult Comedy shows and Late Night Disco are ongoing for the night owls. There is plenty to do on board and when in port there are all kinds of tours. PORTS OF CALL Day 1. Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Depart 4:00pm Day 2. At Sea Day 3. At Sea Day 4. St. Maarten Arrive 7:00am Depart 4:00pm There are some interesting shore excursions on this island: Several Snorkeling and Snuba diving tours for those who love to see a great variety of coral, sea creatures and shipwrecks; a couple of tours with Jeeps and ATVs for convoy style driving through the island; a tour by Land & Sea of St. Maarten first on a catamaran and then on a Swiss Army Jeep; and an easy tour on the Macarena Choo Choo party bus. Day 5. Barbados Arrive 12:00pm (usually) Depart 10:00pm Our arrival time here was at 2:00pm, due to the delay for the medical emergency the evening before, thus some tours were canceled. Several combination tours are available: a Safari ride in Zebra striped Land Rovers with visits to the Ocean Park and the South Coast Beach, combined with a refreshing swim at the beach; a Safari ride to the wildlife reserve with the Green Monkey Encounter; a catamaran sailing to a site where one can snorkel to view a shipwreck and exotic coral and marine life combined with a convoy type tour of the island on 4x4 vehicles; and other tours to a Plantation House and Rum Factory, etc.... Day 6. Martinique Arrive 7:00am Depart 2:00pm A few shore excursions are available here: A visit to the Botanical Gardens where a great variety of tropical plants and flowers can be seen; a Sailing, Sun & Fun tour of the coastal waters with swimming and snorkeling; and St. Pierre Island Tour, a scenic bus ride around the island up the mountains and through the tropical forest, a close view of the famous volcano, Mt. Pelee, and a visit to the Depaz Rum Distillery, etc.... Day 7. At Sea Day 8. At Sea Day 9. Ft. Lauderdale Arrive 7:00am Debarkation 8:30am DEBARKATION If you wish to carry off your own baggage, then early debarkation is for you. The ship was cleared by officials at 8:30am and we debarked at 9:00am. It took just twenty minutes from our cabin to the pier. Ms. Kashanipour had a steward come to our cabin to help with the wheelchair. It made everything easier. Thanks! This eight day cruise ended on a Thursday and the I-95 traffic was so heavy, that it took us almost two hours to drive the usually one half hour trip. But, we are safely home at last and with happy cruise memories. CONCLUSIONS This has been our 8th cruise on Carnival ships and a pleasant one, but not on par with most of the cruises that we have had recently on this cruise line. The service has been excellent, the itinerary interesting, the weather just marvelous, everything met our expectation, with the exception of the cuisine which has been good, but not as good as the ones that we have recently savored on the Glory, the Liberty and the Triumph. The main reasons for this are for the pasta dishes and the bread rolls in the Truffles Dining Room: The pasta texture and sauces did not meet Vincent's palate expectations (not tasting "Italian") and the rolls were not sufficiently cooked. However, we did enjoy other items on the menu, especially the desserts. We are addicted to cruising and we have enjoyed every cruise we have taken, including this one, but we are still looking for the "perfect cruise", thus we'll keep cruising until we find it. Here are a few suggestions to make some improvements to this cruise: 1. We suggest putting some deck chairs or benches on Deck 3 outside Promenade. It is important for the older cruisers to leisurely walk or stroll for their daily exercise some place on the ship, away from the Jogging Track on the Sport Deck 11 where the more fit younger cruisers run at a faster pace than we can, and the best place is the Promenade on Deck 3. We periodically need to sit down and rest during our stroll. 2. We spend a lot of time in our stateroom, thus we frequently watch movies, news and sport programs on TV. We were happy to see that CNN was available, but did not like to watch the ABC, CBS and NBC stations which transmit their local news from Colorado (very provincial) rather than having stations from a more cosmopolitan area (i.e., New York or Miami, which are on the same time zone as the ship). Moreover, we would have liked to watch the Masters Cup Tennis series and the Soccer Champions League and UEFA Cup matches on ESPN International, but it was not available in the cabin, so we went to the Dream Team Sport Bar; however, the loud noise from the slot machines in the nearby Casino irritated those who were watching TV in the Sport Bar. We have two more cruises before the Holiday Season, on the Norwegian Jewel, Nov. 26th and on the Queen Mary II, Dec. 9th. Until then, Happy Cruising to all "Frequent Floaters".    

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By Andy_CR

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Oct 22, 2006

Southern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Southern Caribbean Andy My wife and I just returned from an 8-night cruise to the Southern Caribbean aboard Carnival Legend. Overall, it was one of our favorite vacations. We chose it based on the price (discounted during hurricane season), the itinerary (mainly St. Maarten), the departure port (Ft Lauderdale), and the length. It was our second cruise together, the first being a 5-day

Western Caribbean on Carnival’s Holiday in 2003. Getting There We flew into Fort Lauderdale on Southwest the day before and spent the night at the Comfort Suites Airport and Cruise Port. We chose it because the price was reasonable, it offered free breakfast, and it ran a free shuttle both to/from the airport AND to/from the cruise port. We started off on the wrong foot by boarding the wrong shuttle. Comfort INN Airport/Cruise Port also has a shuttle (subcontracted like the Comfort Suites shuttle), and the trailer it carries for luggage said “cruiseport” on the side. We didn’t realize the mistake until we were on our way and the driver asked us which hotel we were going to. The hotel itself was pretty good. We enjoyed breakfast and the room except for a persistent wet spot under the A/C unit. Another gotcha – the cruise shuttle only had 14 seats, so you have to sign up early to get the time you want. If you’re flying in, I do recommend arriving a day early in case you have flight problems. We had breakfast one morning with a couple from Toronto whose flight got canceled and missed the boat. They spent one night in Miami and another in St. Maarten, finally getting on board the ship when we came there on Day 4. Embarkation Apparently the Legend came into port late that morning for an unknown reason, so our experience might not be typical. We hoped to embark early, but Carnival wouldn’t allow any shuttles until 12:00 or later. We got there to the port around 1:15, thinking we’d surely sail away later. A porter took our bags. Once we got in line, the whole process took maybe an hour or less. Mercifully, they let us skip the embarkation photo that we had to endure on our last cruise. The line moved quickly, and we were on the Legend by 2:15 or 2:30. The Ship We loved the ship. Built in 2002, she looks almost new and is in great shape inside and out. As a Carnival ship, the décor is definitely not subtle, but most of it is classy-gaudy rather than obnoxious-gaudy. The crew does a great job of keeping her clean. Most of the cabins are on decks 4-8. The main dining room, theater, piano bar, and shopping are on decks 2 and 3. Buffet dining, the pools, and the gym/spa are on deck 9. It might be easier to have all the non-stateroom decks grouped together, but the ship much easier to navigate than the Holiday. On this trip the ship did rock, sometimes barely and sometimes noticeably, but never enough to make us sick. Crew Most of the crew members were very nice. Our waiters in the dining room were great, very friendly and happy. Our cabin steward was very nice, although his English was limited so it was hard to communicate with him. Some of the folks in the Lido deck restaurant weren’t as friendly as I remembered them being on the Holiday. I don’t know if they were just having bad days or if they don’t like working there in general. The only black mark I would give any of the crew must go to the photo staff. They spared us at the cruise terminal but made up for it for the rest of the cruise. They take pictures at almost every dinner in the main dining room and on the gangway at every port. It seems like such a waste because they print all these pictures hoping you’ll buy them. Only a small percentage actually get bought, so the price you pay for 1 picture must cover Carnival’s cost for all those wasted pictures. An 8x10 is $20. Yes, we bought one from the first formal night, but next time we probably won’t buy any. The photographers themselves are fairly nice, but the whole program is annoying, and I blame Carnival’s management. Passengers The crowd was mostly middle-age and retired folks, so my wife and I (30 and 28, respectively) were among the youngest ones aboard. The vast majority were Americans, several from Florida plus some from the Northeast, Missouri, Texas, Colorado, and California. A few Canucks came with us as well, but I don’t remember meeting anyone from another other countries. Since this was an October sailing, we hardly saw any kids. Staterooms We splurged on a balcony stateroom for the first time. If you can afford it, I highly recommend the balcony room. We spent more time in the room on this cruise simply because we loved being there. I spent hours reading on the balcony and watching the ocean and islands pass by. Each balcony had two chairs and a table/footrest. We had a lovely breakfast out there as we pulled into Martinique. The balcony is even better when cruising with your spouse, if you catch my drift. Except for the suites, I believe all the rooms on Carnival Legend are the same size, so you’re mainly paying for the deck and the view. The rooms are beautiful, surprisingly elegant compared to the gaudiness of the public areas. We had plenty of storage space in all the cabinets and drawers. The bed was very comfortable, and with the gentle rocking of the ship it was always easy to fall asleep. The bathrooms are small, but the mirror has two sets of shelves for storage. In the shower they give you shampoo and body wash in case you forgot or don’t like your own. We also enjoyed the bathrobes and pool/beach towels they provided. I must also mention some fun technology they added to the TVs. Channel 14 is a moving map of the area that shows the ship’s position, nearby islands, path taken, current speed, and current wind. It cycles through several different zoom levels to provide various levels of details. They also added a way to purchase shore excursions and check your current Sail & Sign balance through the TV. Another option showed you the lunch and dinner menus, but they were generally incorrect. A word about laundry – we never found or even actively looked for the laundry facilities, but they are available. If you’re like us and don’t feel like babysitting a washing machine on vacation, they run some specials on port days. The first two days, they would wash, dry, and fold 1 bag of laundry for $12. On the third day, the price goes up to $15. I correctly suspected they might raise the price later in the cruise, but I rolled the dice and lost. We forked over the $15 on the Martinique day and got every piece back in good condition. The laundry bag is about the size of a large paper grocery bag, and there’s a 1-bag limit. Dining There are three main dining options: the Lido deck buffet, the main dining room, and the Supper Club. We split our meals between the first two and refused to try the supper club on principle – one of the points of a cruise is for all the food to be included, not $30/person extra. The food was good overall. Standouts included grilled salmon, baked Alaska, roast duck, and Grand Marnier cheesecake in the main dining room and the 24-hour pizza on Lido deck. The coffee was also very good. There’s a sushi stand near the piano bar. We tried it once or twice and enjoyed it. We would have gone more often, but I think it was only open a few hours each night, and it felt far away from the other dining options. Breakfast was pretty much the same each day. On the early port days we ordered continental breakfast in our rooms to save time using a card they provide in the room. No matter what time we requested breakfast, they seemed to arrive 10-15 minutes early, so be prepared! Fortunately we liked our tablemates as well, a nice couple about our age from the Sarasota area. The one event we did try in the supper club was an afternoon wine tasting/food pairing class ($15/person). We tried five wines, three white and two red, with a few different foods and seasonings. I love wine and enjoyed discovering how different foods and even different seasonings can affect the experience. Fitness I was impressed at the fitness equipment in the gym, which was much more extensive than the Holiday offered. We actually worked out on many of the sea days. The equipment was modern and in good shape, similar to many of the machines at our gym back home. My wife did cardio and some weights. I lifted weights and jogged on the jogging track on the Sports Deck. I loved the feeling of running at the top of a ship with nothing but ocean as far as I can see. Working out made us feel a little less guilty about all the great food we were eating. =) Spa My wife and I attended a fun couple’s massage class on the Barbados day. For $61, we got to spend an hour learning from the massage therapists on 5 basic Swedish massage techniques and practicing them on each other with supervision. We were the only two in the class, so we went to one of the treatment rooms and used a real table. My wife got the ionothermie treatment, which is supposed to tighten up skin and eliminate cellulite. She really enjoyed it and learned some things. In general, all the spa treatments are more expensive that they are in the States. They do run specials and hand out coupons that bring the prices closer to normal, and they have “value” pricing on port days that knock 10-15% off the regular price. Entertainment We went to a couple of shows, the welcome aboard show and the passenger karaoke show. The first was pretty good. The second had a couple of good singers and several bad ones, but that’s certainly not Carnival’s fault! Our room was next to the passenger who sang Frank Sinatra’s “I Did It My Way”, so I heard him out on the balcony practicing from time to time. Since our cruise was right before Halloween, they had a costume contest late Saturday night followed by a screening of Friday the 13th. Bingo was very popular, and we played a couple of times. Todd, one of our tablemates at dinner, won $600 playing bingo. We skipped many of the activities because either 1) we were too tired and wanted to rest, 2) they were repeats from our last cruise, such as the galley tour and ice carving, or 3) we preferred to do something else, such as read on the balcony or watch the end of the World Series. We gambled and lost $1 in the casino, which was very smoky. One night we relaxed in the piano bar (not crowded, good pianist, OK singer) and Satchmo’s Lounge. We thought Satchmo’s would be a jazz club, but instead it was 4 cute and very talented Asian musicians playing party music, so we danced a bit there. Medusa’s Lair, the dance club, doesn’t open for adults until 11:00, which disappointed us. Some of the music was pretty good, but heavy on the techno side, and it’s hard to get past the freaky Medusa heads and snakes that cover the walls. Brent and Jen, the cruise directors, were great fun and worked hard to make all events enjoyable. Saint Maarten/Saint Martin This was our favorite port of the three. I wouldn’t mind going back for a long visit. We split our visit into two parts and wished we’d had more time there. First, we shared a cab ($6/person or so plus tip with a big group) to Orient Beach on the French side. It was one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen, with powdery sand, turquoise water, and lush vegetation all around. The northern and middle parts have some topless bathing but are generally more clothed than the southern end. The south end is next to a nudist resort called Club Orient, and the beach itself is clothing-optional. I’ve wanted to visit a nude beach for some time but had trouble finding one. We arrived early and had our pick of the chairs. I stripped down completely, but my more modest wife kept her bikini on. Either way is fine there. We did the normal things people do on the beach – reading, sun tanning, swimming, walking the beach. I just happened to be naked, and it was fantastic. Officially, it costs $18 US to rent two chairs and an umbrella. But the guy wouldn’t let me pay up front, and when we had to go, I couldn’t find anyone who would take my money. Oh well! We left the beach around 11:30 and took another cab to Maho Beach, a prime aircraft-spotting point near Princess Juliana Airport on the Dutch side. I’m an airplane buff, so I’d been looking forward to this for some time. The cab ride took a while and was more expensive ($30) since it was just the two of us. We hit some traffic and construction (much of the southwestern side is under construction) on the way, and I was VERY glad we didn’t rent a car. We had lunch at the Sunset Beach Bar, which is right beside the beach and the end of the runway. They broadcast the control tower’s radio so everyone can hear the tower talk to arriving and departing planes. We saw an American Airlines 757 arrive from Miami and a Delta 757 arrive from Atlanta. The runway is so close to the beach that the aircraft pass only a few stories above it seconds before they touch down. Sometimes daredevils defy the warning signs by standing along the fence behind departing aircraft and getting blown backward by the jet blast. I took some good pictures. Unfortunately it rained on and off while we were there, but it cleared up while the big guys were landing. There’s a nice shopping area right at the dock, but we didn’t do much shopping because we spent all our money on the balcony. =) Curiously, Carnival didn’t offer excursions to either of these locations. They had some beach excursions, but none to Orient Beach. I understand that Maho Beach might be a limited-interest trip, but I did meet other Carnival people there. Barbados This was our least favorite port. We might have liked it better if we’d done an excursion and stayed out of Bridgetown. We arrived at noon and took a cab to the middle of Bridgetown, the capital. It’s a very crowded, busy city that made me nervous. Seeking some authentic local flavor, the best we could do was a KFC-style chicken joint called Big John’s. To cross a street, you just wait for cars to slow down and then start walking to make them stop for you. It made me nervous. After lunch a cabbie on the sidewalk started talking to us, and we cautiously asked him for a ride to the Malibu Rum factory. We offered to take us on a tour of the whole island for $75, but we declined. Instead we arranged for him to come back to the Malibu factory at a set time to take us back to the ship. The Malibu tour was fun. For $10 US each, we toured the factory, tried several different rums, got a free drink, and hang out on their beach. It rained that afternoon, so the beach wasn’t helpful, but it might have been nice in sunny weather. Some guys on the beach rent jet skis, but we didn’t try them. Our cabbie never returned, but another one had room in his cab. The ship was docked until 10:00 PM, but most of the passengers were back on by dark, partly due to the rain and partly because some people didn’t feel safe there after dark. Martinique Instead of going out on our own, we booked the longest excursion available on this island, the St Pierre Island Tour ($57 for 4.5 hours, not bad). Martinique is by far the most beautiful of the islands, but you have to get outside Fort-de-France to see the beauty. Our tour took us by bus first to an old church on a hill that overlooks the city and the ocean. Then we wound through the mountainous rain forest for about an hour, enjoying the incredibly green landscape. The road is narrow and winding, so you might want some Dramamine beforehand. Then we stopped at the Depaz Rum Distillery, which sits in the middle of a huge sugar cane farm and is so beautiful that you could mistake it for a golf course or resort. Then we stopped in St. Pierre, the city that Mt Pele destroyed in a 1902 eruption. A museum there (mostly in French) displays pictures and artifacts from the area before and after the tragedy. The beaches near Mt Pele are black sand. Martinique is another island I’d like to visit again. If you go out on your own, be aware that everyone speaks French. Some speak English as well, but it’s not as widespread as it is in St Martin. Debarkation Our debarkation experience is atypical because we added on the Everglades tour with airport transfer. We met at 7:45 in the Firebird lounge and waited for over an hour. Apparently Customs was upset that day because despite numerous instructions, some passengers were not bringing the proper declaration forms and identification. This trip was the Legend’s first from Ft Lauderdale after a stretch running out of NY, so the whole process probably wasn’t as smooth this time as it will be later. Generally, you have two debarkation options: normal and self-assist. The self-assist folks carry their own luggage off and get to leave early. The others start leaving around 9:30. Your luggage shows up in the cruise terminal arranged by color tag. Once we got to leave the Firebird Lounge, the rest was quick and easy. Ft Lauderdale Everglades Tour We took a bus to Everglades Holiday Park, about 30 minutes from the cruise terminal. Our guide told us about the area and then dropped us off at the park for a couple of hours. We took an airboat ride through the Everglades, seeing several alligators, including a baby one. Once again it rained for a time, which is unpleasant on an airboat, but it stopped soon enough. After the ride, we saw a show/talk by an alligator “wrestler” who was missing two fingers on his left hand. He really knew a lot about them and obviously liked and respected them. We grabbed a snack from the convenience store/gift shop afterward. The park has several beautiful peacocks, dozens of smaller birds, and two resident cats that beg at the picnic tables. The tipping situation was a little weird. We paid for the tour through Carnival, but the tour guide, boat captain, and alligator wrestler all wanted tips and presumably don’t tip-share. After an 8-day cruise, you start getting tired of people asking for tips, especially when you brought large bills. We got back to the airport around 1:00, maybe a little later. Looking Back We’re both really glad we took this cruise. We intentionally didn’t overload ourselves with activities, excursions, etc, choosing instead to spend much of our time reading and relaxing. As a result, we didn’t need a “vacation from the vacation”, like we have after some trips. We thoroughly enjoyed our room, many of our port activities, and just spending time together. Sure, there are a few things I wish Carnival would change. I’d like to spend more time in St Maarten and less in Barbados, especially after dark. They ought to open the disco earlier and quit pushing the photos so hard. I’d love to see the entire ship be non-smoking like the Paradise. And the spa still seems overpriced. But the bottom line is that we had a wonderful time, made even better by the good deal we got on the room since we cruised during hurricane season. We definitely plan to cruise again and will definitely consider Carnival when we do.    

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Jul 14, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Eastern Caribbean Clemente Maglione Embarkation was a breeze. Took a limo to the pier. (And home for only $100 more than I would have paid for parking). We were dropped off at Noon. Got to the blue chairs at 12:15. We were worried because we were in the back. However, we were in our cabin by 1PM. The ship sailed almost three hours late. That was no problem since we had our lunch at

the Unicorn Café and proceeded to explore the ship. I must say the lay out was very easy to learn. We spent the remainder of the time sitting on our balcony until the ship left port at 6PM. We took the usual photo's Statue of Liberty etc. Dinning and service were great through out. After the first night our waiter and helper remembered our preferences and anticipated our requests. The Golden Fleece was absolutely fantastic and worth double the $30 per person. The Unicorn Cafe was great and rarely did we wait on line. My wife especially enjoyed the picture windows and panorama over breakfast and lunch. Tip: we had the late seating (8:15). Each night I would go to the Unicorn Café about 6PM and bring some cheese and appetizers back to the cabin. The pools were somewhat crowded and chair saving is a problem if you are an early riser. Which we were not. We got to the adult pool about 2PM and the early crowd had had just about enough of sitting in the sun. Entertainment was very good. However only two of the shows were great. One small complaint though. After the late show (11:30) we would go to Satchmo's Lounge for live music and dancing. Well by the time we got there and the remainder of the crowd got warmed up it was about 12:30 and the band promptly stop at 1AM. I suggested to Carnival in my review that if there are more than 50 people drinking and dancing that the band should continue playing. However, we found ways to entertain ourselves. Excursions: San Juan we should have stayed on the ship. St. Thomas was the best. We have a friend who lives in St. Thomas overlooking Magen's Bay. The condo is the equivalent to living in a postcard. Tortola never left the ship. Late riser's you know Casino: Was very nice. I even won. Can't believe it. Disembarking: I am glad I checked these reviews before we left. On the day of arrival we did not wake up until 9AM. Brought breakfast back to the cabin. Tipped the Steward a little extra. He let us stay in our cabin until 10:30 when our color tag was announced. It took about fifteen minutes to get to our luggage. I called our limo driver who was waiting nearby. By the time we got our luggage to the curb he was there waiting. All in all our best vacation ever. P.S. There were the usual complainers. But those people would probable complain about anything and everything  

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By John_CR

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Jun 12, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Eastern Caribbean John This was my 5th cruise with Carnival, and probably my worst. NY is a nightmare and I would definitely avoid using this port. Crew on the ship was great particularly Sergio in the Truffles dinning room. I would not recommend this ship, its layout is very poor and its true that to get to the dinning room you must go through a smoke filled room. Pick another

ship and you will be happier.  

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Jun 12, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Eastern Caribbean Brandon Tucker This was my first cruise and may be my last...at least on Carnival. The waiters and dinners were excellent and all else was not even second-rate. I understood before booking the cruise Carnival was not first-class, but I at least expected "good" service. We went to an art auction on board and I couldn't believe Carnival harbors such crooks. The art

auctions were held by Park West, and luckily we didn't buy any art from them. When we got back we saw the same art for a third as much, though they kept saying they were selling for a fraction of the price!!! Carnival-1 Brandon-0 On the cruise they offer bingo games to entertain you and charge $20 a game and give away $500. Luckily for Carnival they only offer one prize and have 100-200 players (instead of tending to the travelers they make a huge profit). Carnival-2 Brandon-0 After checking out 1 excursion on the boat ($80)we found that the same trip could be booked for $20 on your own. Carnival- 3 Brandon-0 It's too bad, but I felt every chance they had they tried to rip you off rather than show you a good "fun, time". Although cruise ships are a business I felt like I was being scammed the entire time. I would advise people to spend a little more and go on a real cruise ship in the future. When I was leaving the ship in the end I could almost hear the captain: "Bon Voyage Suckers"!    

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May 27, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Eastern Caribbean Joann I am not your usual complainer. I like to find the good and FUN in every situation. I am not new to cruising. This was my 5th cruise, 2nd with Carnival and will probably be my last with Carnival. Royal Caribbean is so much better. First, there was a tragic problem with a passenger on the previous voyage which delayed the return to the New York cruise terminal.

Due to this problem, we were told to arrive at the cruise terminal between 8 and 9 p.m. for embarkation instead of the scheduled 2:00 p.m. We arrived at 9 p.m. as instructed but were told that we had to wait until the ship was cleared of previous passengers. We did not board the ship until about 2 am. We waited 5 hours and our 8 day cruise turned into a 7 day cruise. They gave us $50 each for our troubles. Still, we put this behind us and decided we were going to have a blast. Staff: The staff and crew were great people. They made you feel comfortable and welcome. Food: The Dining room always had the best food. Delicious. Breakfast is best in the dining room, it is too hectic on deck, too crowded. Room Service is also very good. Midnight buffet (only one) was terrible. We waited inline for 40 minutes and by the time we got in the dining room, there was NOTHING LEFT…pretty funny now, but we were so upset then. Entertainment: The shows were good. The comedians were really funny. As for other entertainment, there wasn’t much. We found ourselves bored during the day. Pick the later dinner seating. We ate too early and had to kill 2 hours until show time. Bingo was a joke, $20 and lasted 2 minutes, literally. Ports of Call: Don’t get off the ship in Puerto Rico. Its just not worth it. We didn’t get to go to Tortola because of the delay at embarkation. We went to Turks and Caicos, not bad. St. Thomas was the absolute best. What a beautiful place. We were only docked there from 7-2 so we booked the champagne catamaran, it was the best excursion I’ve ever been on. So relaxing! Debarkation: Very quick. Overall, it was not worth the money. We’ve been on much better cruises. I would steer away from the Legend. Our next cruise will definitely be with Royal Caribbean.  

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May 19, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Eastern Caribbean Linda Sue This is my second and probably last Carnival cruise. Much prefer Norwegian, Celebrity or Royal Caribbean. The embarkation process was a mess. We did arrive later rather than earlier - 2:30 pm and the lines were very long. All crew members were very nice and friendly. Cabin - extended balcony 8157 was on the small side and noisy when an event was going on

above (right below the deck where the outside buffet was one evening). We tried the buffet for breakfast the first morning at sea and it was noisy, crowded and confusing. They set up breakfasts in so many different areas you had to scout around and squeeze thru crowds to find out what was being served. We had the rest of our meals in the main restaurant. Food was ok but not memorable. Coffee at the buffet was bad - restaurant much better. If you wanted a decent cup of regular coffee and some nice cookies, etc. you could pay for them at a few coffee stands they had around the ship. On NCI Voyager of the Seas they provided this and much more for free. Hamburgers were good on the buffet. This was a very smoky ship. They allowed smoking in almost all the bars (they even had a cigar bar right before you walked into the dining room!), casino and the starboard side of all the outside pool decks. I traveled with someone who has asthma and we were very careful to sit on the right side. One day a group of people lit up on the left side of the ship. When our drinks were delivered I asked the crew member if we were on the correct side for non-smoking and he said yes. I then asked him to ask the smokers to either put out their cigarettes or move and he said he couldn't do that because that would be rude and they are our guests (I guess I wasn't a guest). He told me to contact security, but he wouldn't do that for me. Another crew member in an all white uniform more the less said the same thing even when I told him my companion was asthmatic. I find this incredible. I slept in the upper berth. The twin beds had lovely down comforters and duvet covers. My blanket was a coarse blue one. I asked the cabin steward if I could have one of the down comforters and he said no - not for the upper berth. The purser's desk personnel for the most part were abrupt and sometimes nasty. We found ourselves looking for events during the day. They could use more activities - many other cruisers said the same thing. Karaoke was on very late most evenings. That is something cruisers enjoy doing and watching. All in all, I guess for the price it was ok, but I seriously doubt I would use Carnival again unless it is a great price but you do get what you pay for. As I said above, the cabin stewards and restaurant personnel were lovely.  

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Apr 25, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Eastern Caribbean Kelli Embarkation: We live in PA so we took a bus to the Port Authority and then a taxi to the ship. It was very chaotic as the Norwegian Dawn and Carnival Legend were both letting passengers off and on at the same time. Lots of pushing and shoving. After we wound our way through the crowd, we got into the terminal. We went through security, then into another line

to show our documents and get our sail and sign cards. Total time was about 1&1/2 hours. We were on the Lido Deck having lunch by 1:30. After lunch, we went to the purser’s desk to activate our sail and sign cards. We chose to use cash, although credit/debit cards are acceptable also. We got the early dinner seating as we requested so we didn’t need to visit the Maitre’d. Cabins: We were in Cabin 8142, Panorama Deck, Port Side, Forward. We were lucky to be upgraded to an extended balcony, which we really enjoyed. There was plenty of storage for clothes. Since we were traveling with our 2 sons, (10 & 5), the sofa was made up as a bed and there was another bed that folded down from the ceiling. Our 2 beds were pushed together to make one and it was very comfortable. The bathroom was bigger than we expected. The bowl of “freebies” in the bathroom was nice. There was mints, mouthwash, razors, etc. Having dispensers of body soap and shampoo in the shower was very handy. Our room steward was very attentive but we hardly saw him all week. I swear that he was hiding under our bed because every time we came back to our room, it looked perfect! There is a mini-bar and we asked our steward to unlock it so that we could put some bottles of water and soda inside. I’ll add a note here about laundry. The ship offers a laundry service on a couple days. They give you a paper bag to fill with dirty laundry and they will take care of it for $15. Well, with a family of 4, we were not able to pack too much stuff in that bag and they only offer one bag per cabin. I did find the launderette on Deck 7. The washer and dryer was $2 each and a box of Tide was $1. Not too bad as that was much cheaper than the $15 special and we were able to wash a much bigger load than what would have fit in that bag. The only drawback was that there was only 2 washers (1 of them was broken much of the week) and 4 dryers. Also, there was no change machine in the launderette. You had to either go to the casino or the Pursers’ Desk to get quarters. Camp Carnival: Our boys loved it! I think they spent more time in Camp than they did with us. They even went to dinner with the Camp kids and counselors. On the first night, we went to the camp orientation and got the schedule for the week. The kids picked and chose what they wanted to do. There were also family activities. The camp was closed from 12-2 and from 4:45-5:45. They even took the kids to a couple of the shows at night. Our oldest son was able to sign himself in and out of the activities. You can also opt out of this and have a parent sign the child in and out. We had 2-way radios with us so we felt comfortable knowing where he was. The camp counselors were awesome. They were very caring and interacted with the kids wonderfully. On the last sea day, there was a kids’ talent show and the counselor made each one of the participants feel so special. The camp’s hours are from 9 a.m.-10 p.m. with the breaks mentioned above. There is babysitting available from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. The charge for this is $6/hr. for the first child and $4/hr. for each additional sibling. They also held PJ parties after hours for the same charges as listed above. Casino: We played the slots a couple of times and broke even. We didn’t spend too much time there, as it was pretty smoky and usually very crowded. Entertainment: Jazz Hot and Take II were both very good shows. The dancers and singers were very talented. The Follies Lounge is a beautiful room with 3 levels of seating and a decent size stage. Ship Décor: Keeping in mind the ships’ name, there were legendary and mythical figures everywhere. The pictures in the elevators, the murals in the stairwells, not to mention the urns. They were everywhere! You could find them on the legs of tables, lining the stairways in the lobby, etc. You get used to seeing them after a couple of days. The Enchanted Forest in the front of the ship was a nice quiet place to read. Activities: Our sea days were packed with things to do. We actually didn’t get to do everything we wanted because we had to pick and choose. There were lots of trivia games, Newlywed & Not-so-Newlywed game, Bingo, Arts & Crafts, Hairiest Chest Competition, just to name a few. Our Cruise Director was Trevor Block. His assistant was Jake and our Social Hosts were Andrew, Julia and Ruben. They made all of the games and activities lots of fun. By the end of the week, they all seemed like part of our family. The passengers on the ship are divided into teams: Red, White or Blue. Every time a passenger competes in or wins a game, their team gets points. At the end of the week, the winning team is announced. During dinner each night, the Maitre’d gives the points for each team and the standings. We enjoyed this friendly rivalry and it did allow the passengers to get to know each other. The pools and hot tubs were always crowded. We didn’t notice a lot of chair saving and we could usually find somewhere to camp out. I’ll add a note here about the ships photographers. They were everywhere! Every night before dinner, when you leave the ship, they are there. Of course, the pictures turn out so good you want to take them all home. Unfortunately, they are quite pricey. An 8x10 is $19.95. They do offer some specials during the week like a free frame, etc. Food: What can I say? Everything was great! We ate in the dining room almost every night. Each morning in our cabin we checked on the TV to see what the menu was for that night and we could choose to eat in the dining room or the buffet on the Lido Deck. The waiter and his assistant in the dining room were very attentive. They knew our kids’ names after the first night and that they liked chicken nuggets and fries. They kept the saltines coming for my older son when we had a bumpy night, and had a fruit cup waiting at the table for our youngest son each evening. They have awesome memories. Pretty impressive since they see so many people each cruise. We ate breakfast and lunch on the Lido Deck. It was the same menu each day. There was French toast, pancakes, eggs made to order, bacon, ham, sausage, pastries, oatmeal, grits. For lunch, there was a different international theme each day or you could get deli sandwiches, pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs and salad bar. Everything was delicious. The pizza was available 24 hours a day as was soft serve ice cream. Beverages included ice tea, lemonade, fruit punch and fruit juices for breakfast. Hot chocolate, coffee and hot tea were also available. Soda was not free. Each can of soda costs about $2, including the 15% gratuity. You can purchase a Fountain Card if you drink lots of soda. There is one for the kids and one for the adults. The kids’ card was approximately $30 and the adult card was approximately $40. I guess you need to figure out how many sodas a day you will consume to see if it is worth while to purchase the card. As we don’t drink much alcohol, I can’t comment on the beer and drink prices. I did, however, have one of the drinks of the day and it was around $6 in a plastic souvenir glass. The drink servers are everywhere! It can get a little annoying at times. Especially in the Follies Lounge when you are there for Bingo, a show, Trivia, whatever. At one point, we counted 5 servers and they were relentless. We got a little tired of saying “No, thank you.” Ports: We arrived in San Juan at 3 p.m. We got off the ship and just walked around and shopped. We arrived in St. Thomas at 7 a.m. the next day. We got a taxi to Coral World and Coki Beach and spent the day there. It was much cheaper to do that than to book a shore excursion through the ship. About 1/2 price actually. St. Thomas is beautiful. We arrived in Tortola the next day and took a taxi tour of the island. Our driver was great. He took us to a beach and all around the island. Overall Experience: We had a wonderful time aboard the Carnival Legend. Everything pretty much exceeded our expectations. We would definitely consider a Carnival cruise again. We would most definitely not leave from New York again. The weather and the seas were a little too rough for us at times and we would like to be able to visit more ports and have less sea days.  

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Apr 2, 2006

Southern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Legend Cruise Review Southern Caribbean Mary Lefrense This was my husband and my first cruise, but it won't be our last. The cruise was everything we thought it would be and much more. The staff was excellent in all areas. Food was excellent that was served on the Lido deck so much to choose from. The dining room meals were exceptional and the activities that followed the meals by the servers was so much

fun to watch and participate in. We really enjoyed the entertainment at night in the Follies Lounge. Always music in each of the bars, never knew which one to go to first, but always managed to take in one or two each night. One of our favorite islands to visit was St. Maarten's, beautiful beaches and lots of shops to buy jewelry, souvenirs or whatever you were looking for. We were not fussy over Martinique, not a lot to see or do there. Barbados was not too bad. I would definitely do St. Maarten's again. Looking forward to our next cruise. The ship was well maintained and very clean, loved the towel animals on the bed every night.

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Apr 2, 2006

Southern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Legend Cruise Review Southern Caribbean Teresa Mishoe Embarkation: When we arrived at Fort Lauderdale, the scene was a mad house. The ship was three hours late returning from the previous cruise because there was a medical emergency and they had to drop off a passenger in Key West. Even with all this craziness, we were on board in 1 hour and 50 minutes. We booked a deck 8 balcony, and were very happy with

the room. The room stewards did a great job. We always had clean towels and the water pressure in the shower was fantastic (This is important to me). Also liked the towel animals every night. I came to discover that the ship's itinerary had been rearranged due to the number of ships that were scheduled to be in port on the same day in St Marteen. This caused us a lot of problems because we had schedule an excursion thru Shoretrips and because we were not given advance notice had no way of contacting them to cancel. The pursers desk was not helpful, and in fact very arrogant. I was able to contact Shoretrips after the cruise and was given a full refund. I would not hesitate to give them another try next time. The food in the buffet was good. They had a nice variety. The food in the restaurant was very good on some nights and just o.k. on other nights. The entertainment was also good. The Legend has a 10 piece orchestra which was a pleasant surprise to both my husband and myself. The steel drum band that played at the pool in the afternoons was not very good, but they had a jazz three piece that played at the cigar bar each evening that we would have liked to listen to, but unfortunately we could not stand the cigar smoke. Martinique was beautiful but unless you are booked on an excursion, there is nothing to do there. We wen't on the Catamaran and snorkel trip and were very happy with this trip. In Barbados we ended up having to changed to the kayak trip which to our surprise ended up being our favorite excursion, In St. Marteen we did the Little Divi beach trip which was a waste of money. We were promised a live band and all they had was a d.j. playing hip-hop. We could have done our own excursion to the beach and saved a lot of money. The island was beautiful, and I can't wait to go back there. This was our second cruise, the first on the Grand Princess. I would recommend both of them. Even though everything wasn't perfect, it was a wonderful week, and I can't wait to go again. One more thing I would like to mention, we were given no trouble when we put a box of wine in our suitcases. As long as you drink it in your room, no one seems to care.

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Mar 17, 2006

Southern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Southern Caribbean Jim Stinson Just returned from and 8 day Carnival Legend cruise to Southern Caribbean. Ports of call were St. Maarten, Barbados, Martinique. Ship was departed and returned to Ft. Lauderdale. Sailing dates were Mar. 17 through Mar. 25 2006. For a little background, I am 54 and my wife is 53. Usually we cruise with 4 to 6 other close friends. This cruise was just

the two of us for the first time since 2001. It was our 10th cruise, 3rd on Carnival. Previous cruises were Carnival Glory in Oct. 2003 and Carnival Pride in Feb. 2005. We like to have fun so the “party” environment is fun for us. First let me say this. I am a bigger fan of Royal Caribbean (5 cruises) but really enjoy Carnival. I think the Spirit class ship is a wonderful design. It is, in my opinion, the best class ship that Carnival has. I like the more “sophisticated” décor of RCCL, but I think Carnival is on par with service and better for consistent quality of dining room food. Now for the review. Embarkation: Very simple. We arrived in FLL the day before, and since I work for the airlines, we had to fly standby early in the day. We used Marriott Reward points and booked a room in Miramar, FL. in a Courtyard that was only 2 weeks old. It was a great choice. Since we were going to rent a car due to our early arrival, it was no big deal to drive. The Courtyard, being brand new, was very nice and we had a nice relaxing evening. We arrived at the Budget office near the port at about 10:30 am. Needed to have the car back by 11:00. We waited about a half hour for the shuttle and got to the port about 11:15. Guess a lot of people are figuring out the “early” boarding thing. We were on board about 12:00 and dropped our stuff in the room. Went to lunch. No fuss, no muss, smooth as can be. Definitely an easy boarding process. Dining: What can you say? Carnival has about the best meals (particularly beef dishes) out there. I stick to the “good stuff.” I was never disappointed. The New York steak on the first night was my least favorite. Still good though. I had salmon one night, very good. Beef Wellington, well… all I can say is don’t pass it up. It was absolutely wonderful. Same for the Duck. Prime Rib and Filet were also excellent. Forget the Pasta dishes. Word around our table was simply ok. Stick with the “good stuff.” Buffet: Well, I like it. Good omelet bar. Lunches were very good. Had some good Mexican one day. Sandwiches were always good and a great salad bar. Got to do the Burgers at leas one day. And don’t miss the pizza. Shore tours: Did the “Coast to Coast” tour in Barbados. Good way to see the island. Didn’t go downtown since it closes down about 5:00. Ship is there until 10pm. Most everyone was on board by about 7:00pm. Heard that the beach break was really nice. If you are going to hang out on your own it seemed that St. James (I think) was where the upper scale resorts and shops were. Did the St. Pierre island tour in Martinique. Very narrow roads and big busses. Our A/C died and it was hot in the bus, but that’s life. The Rum Distillery is interesting as is the tour of the island. If you have never been there, that is a good overview. No time for anything else. That worked well for us. St. Maarten is my favorite. This was our 3rd visit. Usually we rent a car and tour on our own. That is the best way to see the island. We simply took the water taxi to Phillipsburg and shopped. Was a fun day. Cabins: Typically nice and fairly large cabins. We booked cabin 4120, obscured outside with French doors. Nice cabin and same price as inside so it worked out well. Always look at deck above and below. We were right over Billies Bar, the piano bar. Could hear it in the cabin. Fortunately my wife and I both enjoyed this bar so we spent a lot of evenings in it singing along. The pianist, Greg Alcock, is lots of fun. Not a great voice, but great pianist. It really is a fun place and had sort of a “groupie” following. Anyway, to sum up it was a great cruise. As I said this class ship is my favorite Carnival ship. The service and food was terrific. The décor was nice and ship well maintained. All in all a great time. Any questions, please email me at: Enjoy your cruise.

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Mar 17, 2006

Southern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Southern Caribbean Tom Stanton I am not going to write a book, and will get to the point. We arrived at the port at 11:15a.m. on the 17th. we were on the ship and eating lunch by 12:15. The ship's decor is very gaudy, but after a couple of day's you get used to it and it doesn't seem so bad. First and foremost I would like to say that the ship was all but spotless, the cleanest ship

I have ever been on. The food quality was excellent, I would say much better than some of the so called premium lines we have sailed with the last few years. The service in the dinning room was great, our waiter was Frank and his assistant was Lieta. They also served as wine steward's, just excellent service. Our cabin steward was Eduardo and he was one of the best we have ever had, he bent over backwards to make us comfortable. The service on the Lido deck was great also. This is the first ship I have been on where the wait staff comes to your table with tea, water, coffee or what ever you want really. I would say the entertainment was average cruise ship entertainment, maybe a little above. The port's were new to us except for St. Marteen which we have been to before and enjoy. Martinique was quite nice and rich in history which we liked. Barbados is not worth getting of the ship for in my opinion, very dirty and not well kept at all. We really enjoyed this cruise and will sail with Carnival again. I did have one complaint and that was that the ship is very smoky. The cigar bar is in a public area near the restaurant on deck 3 and the smoke wafts through all of the atrium area and some of the shopping areas. I think that the cigar bar should have been in a sealed room like some other cruise lines do it, that way no one is offended by the smoke. Also the other lounges except for Follies lounge were very Smoky. But this is the only complaint that I have and I learned my way around the cigar bar and stayed out of the other lounges so I did not have to deal with to much smoke.

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Mar 9, 2006

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Exotic Western Caribbean Tammlynn We recently returned from the 09 March 2006 cruise aboard the Legend. Definitely the best value cruise we have ever booked (we have cruised 5 times prior). The embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the terminal at 2:00 and was on the ship by 3:00. The ship was immaculate and I thought it was very easy to navigate. The staff were all very friendly and helpful.

My husband and I were surprised how really good the food was in both the dining room and the Unicorn Café (buffet-style). We really enjoyed the various steaks, seafood, and especially the lobster in the dining room. Also the Unicorn Café was really kept clean by the attentive wait staff and the selection of food at lunch was really exceptional. The coffee was always awful unless you buy it from the coffee bar conveniently located near the bad coffee! The pizza bar was always available as well as a limited room service menu which had some high quality sandwiches and salads! Our server in the Dining room was very nice, but definitely the weakest service we have ever had. Her assistant was rarely seen, our water glasses were often empty and coffee sometimes came after the dessert was served. There was a great sushi bar open from 5:00 to 7:30pm everyday. There was also an ice cream parlor serving sundaes and banana splits between 3-5 pm on the “at sea” days! Our room steward from Costa Rica was very nice and our room was kept extremely clean with surprise animal towels folded in different shapes every night. Our room location left a lot to be desired. We had tried to upgrade to another room and was told by our travel agent to ask at the ship. The ship’s purser told us everybody asks that, but from her experience of 5 months that almost never happens due to the ship being “full”. Our cabin was #1134. I think it was the WORST cabin in the ship! Unless you like too stay up late and dance at the club called Satchmos which is right above you…avoid this and surrounding rooms at all costs! Almost every night promptly at 9 pm the booming noise of the dancers pounding above your head would begin and not end until 1 am! However I can’t complain too much, the cabin was extremely discounted (we now know why!) The entertainment was pretty good. I especially enjoyed the hypnotist and the talent show at the end of the cruise! My husband bought an internet plan on the ship $55 for 100 minutes which helped him stay connected. But in port there are some internet access sites available much cheaper (in Belize outside the terminal towards town 30 minutes= $2). My husband enjoyed the black jack tables and had a blast (he ended up breaking even at the end). We were surprised that the dealers only get paid $10 per day as a wage (please tip them well-if you’re having good luck!). The ports. We booked local tour guides suggested by KCCab who had written a previous cruise review (thank KCCab!). We also got the same tours with more personalized attention for a lot less money. The lack of a huge group was a bonus! Colon, Panama We also went with Mario of myfriendmario on the tour. I made a reservation with him by email and went on the equivalent of Carnivals grand tour to the Indian village and the gutan locks. It is a long tour because you have to go into a remote part of Panama for the Indian village which makes for a very interesting drive. Our guide was really great and made sure we were back in time (we even had 30 minutes to shop at the port). Unlike the Carnival tour we also got to climb up a waterfall and go for a swim which was really refreshing! Since we had about 25 people in our group, he charged us $60 per person (smaller groups may be slightly more). The ship charged $145 per person. This is his email mario@myfriendmario.com Limon, Costa Rica We went with Charlie Soto tours here to the Jungle Breeze zip line (Awesome!) and to the Tortuguero canal boat ride (also a nice surprise- a baby Howler monkey jumped on me and was really adorable, others got to touch a sloth). We also went to a beach side restaurant for lunch which half of us balked at since we wanted to have some time in town to shop. However, the beach was really nice and I am glad we went (bring your suit and towel). You can just hang out on the beach or eat at the busy little tourist restaurant. George (our guide) stopped in town at the grocery store for some of the people who wanted to by coffee at some great prices. We got back to the boat with 45 minutes to spare to do some shopping in the shops on the pier. The price was $89 per person (the ship charges $135 for the zip line tour) I would recommend these guys as well. The email address is okeydokeytours@hotmail.com Belize City, Belize We went with Timmy at CAVE-TUBING.COM. This is a really funny family guy (3 kids) who responded to all questions. He made it a point to give us exactly the tour we wanted. We went with 2 sisters from Canada who were really easy going. We went through 2 caves (quite an experience). What was really incredible was the hundreds of Carnival cruisers on their shore excursion pouring into the water all clustered together in a huge noisy group going through the cave definitely not peaceful! They also get promptly out of the river at the end of the cave and board a bus to go to this restaurant in the middle nowhere called “Cheers). We continued to float down the river another half hour and were then driven back into town where we got a short tour of the city. Cost $45-55 per person depending on group size (Carnival charges $85 per person). I also noticed while walking back to the ship cheaper snorkel excursions out to various cayes. If you are interested in snorkeling one might want to check these out and save a lot of money! However, booking private excursions, you run the risk of a car/van breaking down and not getting back to the ship on time and Carnival really plays on this fear and uses it as a selling point for their shore excursions. The groups I went with all had nice newer vans and were real conscientious about getting us back in time so it wasn’t a concern for me. Overall, I would give the itinerary an 8 and the ship a 7. My biggest complaint other than the position of my cabin would be the short time in port. The ports of call all were really amazing places and much more time is needed to really enjoy them! Debarkation back at Ft. Lauderdale was also a breeze. We elected to carry off all our luggage and we were off the ship by 8:15.

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Mar 1, 2006

Southern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Legend Cruise Review Southern Caribbean Darlene I went on this cruise with my Husband, My sister and her husband also with my Dad, my Nephew and his girl friend. I had a balcony room and it was awesome, cabin steward was so nice; her name was Pauline. Actually the whole cruise staff was nice. Our waiters for the 5:45 dinning were Levente and Jan. They were very entertaining everynight, We looked forward

to dinner just to see them. Our only complaint was that on deck 9 (lido deck) they played the sane music over and over and over. but other than that that, our trip was great. This was my Dad's, My sister's and her husband's first cruise and they would very much like to do it again. We are actually planning another one for next Febuary. This time we will bring our children. We will not go on the legend again but only because we want to experience other ships and see other places. The ship was beautiful and I highly recommend that you try the Legend cruise ship, You wont regret it. We didn't. I hope this helps? Have a good one! Darlene

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Feb 21, 2006

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Western Caribbean Dennis the Menace Party consisted of myself, wife, 9 and 13 year old daughters. Previous cruises include NCI Norway, Carnival Imagination (both adults only) and last 3 years with daughters on Carnival Spirit twice, and Royal Caribbean Splendor of the Seas. This was the 4th cruise we booked through vacationstogo.com, and have had nothing but positive results with

them. Originally was going to pass on getting trip insurance, but after the storm a few weeks before where several NE airports were shut down for up to 3 days, discretion became the better part of valor. I used insuremytrip.com which compares costs and features from multiple insurance providers. One of the big advantages is coverage of emergency medical evacuations which I read can run to tens of thousands of dollars and may not be covered by HMOs when outside the U.S. Worth looking into and not that expensive. We flew from Rochester, NY to Fort Lauderdale on AirTran the day before. The flight was full - somewhat surprising on a Monday - but one of the few non-stops available from Rochester. We had reservations at the Ramada Cruise Port which included a free shuttle. You have to get your luggage - long wait - before they will dispatch the van. It didn't take too long to arrive but made a couple of other stops which resulted in everyone sitting shoulder to shoulder to the hotel. The Ramada was a two-story hotel with no elevators which was a challenge with the amount of luggage we had. We had dinner at the bar that night and the buffet breakfast the next day. It was obvious they were severely under-staffed and the service suffered accordingly. The pool was nice and we took advantage of that. Weather was sunny and in the 80s. We decided to forego the free 1:00 shuttle to the cruise port - which looked like it was again going to be packed - and instead paid for a taxi around noon for $14 plus tip. Next trip I'll just look for the best hotel option and plan on taking taxis. Embarkation: As we arrived a bit early, there were short lines at the cruise port, but we did have to wait a short while to board and then get to our cabin. As we had done the online pre-registration it was pretty painless. Both Fort Lauderdale and Tampa are much less hectic than Miami. Lifeboat Drill - Typical operation. While I recognize they have to do something along these lines, I've always had significant doubts that in a real emergency passengers will docilely line up shoulder to shoulder and wait in neat lines by their assigned life boats. A necessary evil I guess. Previous Legend reviews I had read frequently mentioned the prevalence of "Urns" in the décor theme. But even after having read these, I never noticed them until I overheard someone pointing them out from an atrium elevator. Of course, according to my wife, my fashion-sense gene has been in deep remission my whole life. To be honest, the décor in any cruise ship I've been on recently simply reinforces the stereotype of those individuals involved in the interior decorating industry. NTTAWWT. I would have to agree with those that mentioned that the hallway carpeting on the cabin decks could use some refreshing, but other than that the ship appeared to be well maintained with the usual amount of constant cleaning - typically in the off hours. From some discussions with the crew and my own observations, the ship appeared to be only about 80% booked. Most of the passengers appeared to be on the older side: 40s - 60s , with not that many children on board. Somewhat surprising as most of the time was over February recess. I'd guess it was a result of it being an 8-night cruise and the port locations - which were not the typical beach and party destinations. Most of the passengers seemed to be experienced cruisers. The 3 pools and hot tubs (one adult) were only crowded periodically. More important in my mind for Carnival to refresh over the hallway carpets are the chaise lounges. On every other one the mechanism to raise the back falls apart, although they can usually be re-assembled; this has been a problem with each of the three Carnival cruises we have taken. Even when they work, they don't lie anywhere near flat and several were discolored and/or studded with gum residue. On the plus side, we never had difficulty finding a few available, and chair hogs seemed less prevalent than usual. Clothes pins and those little black binder clips came in handy to keep towels in place. We had been on 2 cruises previously on the Spirit which is a sister ship to the Legend. I must say we had never felt the rocking we did on the Legend. It was particularly pronounced in the front of the ship. The waves did get a bit rough, but not exceedingly so. The discomfort wasn't extreme, more of a mild queasiness that a Dramamine tab would relieve. It was definitely more noticeable at night and may have been partially a result of the speed needed to maintain the itinerary. Our room was right off the atrium elevators just aft of mid-ship which put us in easy distance of most attractions. There was never a problem with elevator availability. The water slide was a major disappointment. On the Spirit, the speed was fast and somewhat exhilarating even though it was a short ride. On the Legend it was a very slow descent, to the point where I stopped dead a few times if in a sitting position. Reading some message boards since returning, it sounds like there were some issues with slides on some other Spirit Class ships that have a slightly different design. I can only surmise that in our litigatious society, Carnival's Legal department decreed that the others be slowed to the point of irrelevance to avoid potential injuries. Sad times. The library, located in the same space as the internet café, was only open a couple of hours per day, so I never utilized it. I bought several books from a local used bookstore before we left, and acquired a few new ones at the airport shops. I managed to complete 6 books on the flights and on the ship, which those with children will recognize as a gauge on how relaxing the trip was. As usual for those books I didn't think I'd read again, I would just leave them out in a common areas with a note that they were free to a good home. They all seemed to disappear pretty quickly. Room: Carnival does a good job with the space available. We were able to find enough storage space for all of us (four large suitcases, a suit carrier, and 4 carry-ons). All the empty suitcases fit under the bed. My wife and I could definitely feel the crease where the 2 beds had been pushed together but otherwise the mattresses were ok and there were enough pillows. Our two daughters took turns on the fold-out couch and the third bed that pulled down from the ceiling. We did find a pair of kid's underwear on the balcony, the second time in the last few years we have found an "intimate" item in the room from the previous residents. However as we did come aboard early, and knowing the limited time available to the staff between one cruise and the next, we didn't make an issue of it. The room steward was very personable and helpful without being intrusive. The bathroom had ample rimmed shelf space and the water pressure was strong. Definitely recommend the balcony room. We used the rope we brought along to keep the spring-loaded French door open at times - just had to be careful when opening the door into the hallway as the air flowing through the room would be quite strong and scatter any loose papers. I liked having a light on the balcony as I would sometimes use it to read late at night without disturbing anyone in the room and the balcony was quite private. The ice bucket that comes with the room is pretty small and as I drink a lot of ice water, I asked our room steward to bring another one. He brought a plastic one which was standard size, would refill both, but usually not until after the other maintenance activities were done. We had one problem with the card-operated in-room safe when I went to lock it and didn't hold the door closed. The locking tongue then protruded with the door open and wouldn't retract. We had to have a technician come to the room to fix it. The wait was pretty short. He emphasized the recommendation on the safe to use a credit card, not the sail and sign room card. I'm not sure why, as it just requires you to carry two cards around instead of one, and chances are if you lose one you'll probably lose both. So in my mind it just increases your loss exposure as opposed to decreasing it. Later in the week we had a problem where none of our cards would unlock the cabin door. We went to the purser's desk and got new cards that still didn't work. Back to the purser's desk, who paged a technician to meet us at the room. He couldn't get the door open either and had to page another technician who came and replaced the lock. By this point we had missed the early seating dinner as we had not been able to change out of our bathing suits. We called the purser after getting into the room and they were not helpful at all. They said we would have to see the headwaiter at the late seating and "try" to get a table, this on a sailing only about 80% full. When I suggested they maybe comp us at the premium restaurant as it was not our fault the lock malfunctioned, they responded as if I had asked to sleep with the captain's wife. Needless to say we were not happy and let them know it. At that point we were just hungry - especially our daughters - and aggravated - especially me, so just ate at the Lido buffet. The next day the purser's desk delivered a complimentary bottle of champagne to our room which did partially mollify us. But our experience does seem to mirror others I have read about that point to the Purser personnel being the least helpful and friendly of the ship staff. I didn't like that the tips are pre-billed and that you now have to go to the purser's desk and adjust them there instead of just getting a form ahead of time. There's enough to deal with on the last couple of days without having to wait in line at the desk. Food: Most days, my wife and I only had breakfast and dinner. Our daughters did indulge in a few lunches also, usually burger based which looked to be pretty good. There did seem to be a good variety of buffet offerings for lunch. I usually went to the buffet breakfast with one daughter while my wife and other daughter would had the continental room service. The buffet breakfast was just so-so in my opinion. The entrees tended to be a bit on the greasy side, although there were plenty of healthful options such as fruit and cereal as well. Did not try the dining room breakfast. The room service, while limited to continental offerings, was ok and pretty timely. Note that this is about the only service where there is not an automatic gratuity provided so you need to tip the delivery person directly if desired. Other than two nights we ate in the dining room; we missed the "door problem" night and skipped one of the two formal nights (two too many in my minority opinion). The food was good overall. The portions were on the usual small side, but that was fine as I usually try to combine 2 entrees into a surf and turf offering. The quality of the fish offerings seemed to be more consistent than that of the beef ones. One thing I missed from Royal Caribbean was the option to have the two entrees on one plate with just one set of sides. Everything was certainly acceptable. The servers were friendly, but seemed somewhat inexperienced. Refills of the water glasses, and offers of ground pepper or grated cheese on the salads were intermittent. The two buffet dinners we ate in the Lido were nothing special. I was disappointed in the limited selection. The pizza - available 24 hours - was good with a number of different types available. The kids also enjoyed the 24 hr availability of ice cream and frozen yogurt. There are also "ala carte" offerings of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, pastries and specialty coffees, available for a price. Didn't try any of these. We purchased soda cards for the kids. They weren't a huge bargain, but definitely saved some money. Sea Days: Sea day 1 - Wed. out of FLL - Very nice, sunny and warm Sea day 2 - Thurs some rain in the AM, then nice sun Sea day 3 Sun. and Sea day 4 Tues. - Mix of sun and clouds, passing sprinkles. As noted above, we were always able to find chaise lounges, at least away from the pools. We had given permission for our 9-year old to sign herself in and out of the kid's camp so both daughters had that ability. They both also made friends even though as I mentioned the number of kids on board seemed to be relatively small. In addition to the camp itself, which runs 9AM to 10PM except meal time breaks, there were numerous other activities - scavenger hunts, talent contests, disco nights, etc. - that they both got involved in. Carnival's program for kids is great, and one of the main reasons we pick this option for vacations. We also took advantage of the babysitting service offered until 3AM. I believe it was $6/hr for one child, and $10/hr for two. Hard to beat that. Ports/Excursions: General: We usually like to go off on our own and find beaches we can snorkel from. My research indicated these were not easy locations to do that from, particularly considering the relatively short times in port. On the plus side, we usually got back to the ship in time to be able to relax on board for a little while and not have to rush off to dinner. I also prefer to avoid tendering whenever possible, which we were able to do on 2 of the 3 ports. My personal guidelines on hiring your own driver to take you around, which we did at two of these stops as well as on other cruises: If the location is at all questionable in terms of safety, ask the driver for ID and call your own or some one else's voice mail and leave the name. Or at least pretend to do so. See the vehicle first, try to determine the air conditioning capability. Particularly as this was rain forest territory, you don't want to be crammed into a car with no a/c and have to roll the windows up. Trust me. In addition to the negotiated rate, ask if a tip is expected, and if the rate depends on whether you take part in any of the activities at planned stops, such as canal cruises, ziplining, etc. It's pretty obvious the drivers get a kickback from some of these places and bake that into their negotiated fees. Also ask if "donations" are expected at any of the planned stops. I always negotiate from the initial offer, but find it difficult to drive too hard of a bargain just knowing what the living conditions can be in some of these countries. Having said all that, this is usually a very cost-effective option, and most guides/drivers will provide a wealth of information on local practices, culture, etc. and will be very flexible. Colon, Panama (7AM - 5PM) Ship docked at the cruise port. Rained early morning, after which we went ashore and hired a driver with an interpreter with a nice van.. Most of the ship excursions in Panama are expensive. I didn't think seeing the canal operations would be that interesting (have seen the lock operations on local canals as well as on the St. Lawrence Seaway). However, after the driver took us to the Gatun lock on the Panama canal, I must say I was very impressed. Particularly when you consider that almost all of the original design dates back to a hundred years ago, and is still utilized today, it's a tremendous engineering and human effort. Well worth the visit. Also stopped at a small private zoo with local animals which was nothing special, and then did some general sightseeing in town. Spent some time in the shopping area within the port as well at the one just outside. Inside the port, there was a shop on the upper level with $4 tee-shirts. Obviously not the highest quality, but not a bad deal for some cheap souvenirs and/or gifts for kids' friends. There was a grocery store just outside the gate from the port (to the right I believe) that had a wide selection of items at reasonable prices. Liquor prices both inside and outside the port area were very reasonable. Puerto Limon, Costa Rica (7-3) Again, the morning was a bit rainy, so we had a leisurely breakfast and then went out to the port area. There is a kind of flea market area just off the ship, with souvenirs, local offerings etc. We then out of the gated area and talked to a number of drivers before selecting one - mostly on gut feel. He had a small 4-door car with a/c. We took a short drive through the city and immediate area outside, than stopped for a short time at Playa Bonita Beach. This is a small scenic beach, popular with the locals that has a refreshment/ bar stand. The surf was extremely rough, and it seemed to be mostly surfers in the water. Appeared to be a nice spot to spend a half day, particularly if the surf were just a little calmer. Stopped at the Tortuguero Canal to check it out. Looked like it would be an interesting boat trip, but as we had limited time, decided against trying it. Next stop was a private zoo, dedicated to rehabilitating injured and orphaned animals, usually brought in by forest rangers. We were guided by the son of the woman that runs the place. He had just returned home after getting a medical degree in the U.S. He did a great job, and we spent a lot of time here. We had the opportunity to feed and/or hold a number of birds, monkeys, etc. Our daughters greatly enjoyed holding one of the baby monkeys. It was obvious these people cared deeply about their animals, and whenever possible, tried to get them to the point where they could be released back to the wild. We were also provided with a variety of fruit from the trees on their property and it was delicious. Our guide picked small bananas right off the tree, and they were the sweetest we had ever tasted. They also brought out a platter of mango, pineapple, and other fruits that were delicious. We tried some coconut meat and milk also but didn't care for it. After getting back to the port area, we did some shopping in the general area. We did get approached by some very young kids who were begging for money, and were very hard to resist, and we didn't for the most part. Our overall impression of Costa Rica was very positive. A beautiful country, friendly people and lots to do and see. Would definitely like to come back at some point and spend more time there. Belize (7-4) We had been to Belize on our last cruise, and knew that the ship had to anchor quite a ways from shore, and that those on ship excursions received priority on the morning tenders. So between the long tender rides to shore and the limited time in port, I overcame my usual resistance to booking an excursion through the ship, and had signed up online for the 3 1/2 hour Goff's Caye Snorkeling excursion. Departure times of 7:30 and 11:30 were offered and we had chosen the later one figuring it would be less crowded (and more importantly, allow us to sleep in!). I was up early enough to take a ride onto shore just to look around. It was a bit rainy - again  - and even an little on the cool side. After a short time in the immediate port area, I returned to the ship. The seas were a little rough both ways. As we were re-boarding, there was an announcement that due to the waves, anyone who had booked a snorkeling excursion had the option of canceling and receiving a full refund. We waited a bit to see if things improved any, and when they hadn't I went to the purser's desk and turned our tickets in. My wife and I may have thought about trying it if we had been on our own, but really didn't want to spend 3 hours listening to our kids whine if it was really that bad. Shortly afterward, they announced all the water excursions were canceled anyway. We were extremely disappointed as this would have been our only beach and snorkeling time, and I had brought my own equipment along, including fins. Oh well, can't control Mother Nature. We all went on shore together for some souvenir shopping. We stayed within the immediate port area as it can be pretty grim outside of it, and the vendors, guides etc. can be pretty aggressive. On the tender back to the ship, a few of us decided to sit in the open back row, even though the crew warned us we'd get sprayed. Did we ever! I was absolutely soaked. But it seemed like it would be the only excitement of the day, and both my daughters found it rather amusing. Entertainment: Sorry I cannot provide a lot of information here, as our entertainment of choice was the casino just about every night. Their was a good variety of table games including: standard Blackjack, several "novelty" blackjack variations, e.g. face-up, Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride, 3 Card Poker, Craps and Roulette. There was also two Texas Hold'em tables with usually at least one game going on. I stuck to Blackjack, never had trouble finding a seat, and the stakes were usually $5, which is becoming pretty rare in land-based casinos. I broke even for the week and put in quite a few hours. The dealers were as a rule friendly and helpful. The layout seemed to work, and there was one-man-band entertainment each night. The one musician was quite good, playing Elvis and other early Rock standards, and usually got the crowd into it which doesn't happen too often when people are gambling. My wife generally played the slots and thought there was a good variety and availability, but the payouts weren't very good, at least for her. Bar service was good. Didn't attend any shows or presentations, except for the debarkation talk. My daughters attended a couple of the song and dance style shows and enjoyed them. (Did I mention how nice it is that the kids can go off on their own? Did I mention that?) Didn't overhear any strong comments plus or minus on other shows. I found the cruise director kind of annoying just based on his announcements. Of course many of them are pitches to spend more money. Debarkation: Against all advice, we had booked a flight leaving at 10:50 the day of return, as all the other options got us back home very late at night. Those of you with kids will recognize that is not a fun time with children who have been up since early morning. There are not generally a lot of options into or out of Rochester. As the early flight was also non-stop, we decided to take a chance and if need be, pay the change fee for a later flight. As it was a weekday, we figured we'd be able to find a later flight if needed. We therefore used the self-assist option to get off the ship. This involves carrying all your own luggage off the ship and through customs, beginning at 7:30 AM. We had not tried this option before, which I believe is a relatively new one, and the reason I attended the debarkation briefing. The cruise director had recommended waiting about 15 minutes after it started for the crowds to die down and you would "walk right off the ship". WRONG. The line was still incredible long, probably 3/4 of the length of the ship. It took forever just to find the end of the line. We could just barely manage the amount of luggage we had, especially on the stairs etc. I would definitely not recommend this option unless it's absolutely needed. The line moved through customs pretty well considering the number of people. We grabbed a porter as soon as we were through, and he took us right to a cab. We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. The flight was full but uneventful. Summary: Overall had a good time, liked the ship and Carnival is a great option for those with children. (Did I mention how nice it is that the kids can go off on their own? Did I mention that?) Service mostly was great, and food good. Weather could have been a little drier, and the itinerary is not the usual beach oriented one. Would have liked more time in port, but the extra sea day on the 8 night cruise is nice. Speed up the Slide!

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By Lisa_CR

  • New

Feb 21, 2006

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Exotic Western Caribbean Lisa This was our first cruise; Me - 35, DH - 36, DD -10, DD -7. We booked kind of last minute (January for a February sailing). We wanted to visit in laws in Ft Lauderdale for a few days before going on the Legend. Sunday, Left Newark Airport for Ft Lauderdale on JetBlue. I cannot say enough good things about JetBlue. The flights are almost always on time or early. Our

flight this time was supposed to land at 8:50pm. We had out luggage and were in my FIL's car at 8:25. Awesome. We stayed with family for 2 days so I have no hotel experience to report. Day 2 was spent visiting with in-laws Embarkation: We arrived at Port Everglades at approximately 10:15, handed off our luggage to a porter and walked toward a growing line near the terminal. I felt a little unsure of things. There wasn't a Carnival employee around to tell us where to go or what to do. After about 5 minutes of general confusion an employee did come out and organize the mass of people. After that, it was about 10 minutes until we were though the check in, Sign and Sail cards in hand and on our way to through security and up to the waiting area. We thought this was great! We had to show our S&S cards along the way at different points. A Carnival employee was waiting to usher passengers into the sitting area of rows of blue chairs. We were about to go to the end of the not so full row when the nice CCL employee told us to squeeze our family of 4 into 3 chairs and a table (picture a hospital waiting room). We weren't sure why - but we did it. Then we realized that the rows were called in order. We were in row 3 (and would have been in row 4) thanks to the CCL lady who told us to squeeze! Yeah! We waited till just after 11:30 and rows started to be called. The CCL employee told us our rooms would NOT be ready, to not even try to go to them, but to please enjoy the rest of the ship and to have lunch on Deck 9. We got our picture taken for our S&S cards and then a family one near the gangway as we were about to board. At about 11:45 we were aboard. Aboard: The first step on to the Legend is memorable. You're just there. In the middle of the atrium, the one you've looked at again and again through the eyes of previous passengers and their camera lenses. It's a wondrous thing, all gilded and mirrored with the lovely urn accents.... The glass elevators are lit and sparkling clean. I wasn't quite prepared for the opulence or the grandeur. I was expecting slightly tacky and overdone. Not true. The angelic-type nudes around the ship were a bit much. DD7 told me once that "those pictures are just gross". Hey, she's 7! Naked, roundish people are gross to her! We wanted to familiarize ourselves with the ship, so we went up to deck 9 - Lido deck and grabbed a drink of the day (The Fun Ship) and a table by the pool area. We found one pool open, the aft pool closest to the Spa. The main pool and forward pool were roped off and empty as were all the hot-tubs. By this time it was after noon and we wanted lunch! The Deli area was opened, as was the Chinese area, the Rotisserie and the Taste of the Nations. We enjoyed our lunch then made our way down to Deck 2 (Promenade) to check out some more of the ship. I saw people reading Capers and I knew I needed to get me some quick! We found these at the Purser's Desk. Here we bought the kids their Fountain Fun Cards. We did this at the atrium bar. It was about $70 for the 2 cards. After 1:00, I went to the dinning room to check on our table assignment. **DD7 is highly allergic to peanuts. If someone at our table were to order something made with peanuts or peanut butter, she'd have a reaction. Even if she didn't eat it. All she'd have to do was touch something they touched with peanut oil on it, or have the waitress touch some peanut butter, then touch her fork and BOOM! Anaphylactic shock. Not pretty. Scary and possibly deadly. Therefore, we needed to be seated alone, at a table for 4** So... I get to Truffles to check on our table and there is a line there, but no maitre'd. Abbey and I waited with a few other people for about 20 minutes. More people were coming, some were walking around the room, toward the kitchen, some went upstairs in search of help. Nuthin' . I finally sent DD10 to get the Capers I'd left with DH and DD7 back near the atrium bar. Ta Daaa! There was a reason why no one was there to answer dinning questions! We were in the wrong place! DUH! We had to go up to Deck 3 and into the Round Table Room/Odyssey Lounge area. Duh. Lesson #1.. Always check the Capers! I was informed that we were seated alone,thanked the guy (who wasn't the maitre'd) and was on my way. It was time to get into our room! We had booked at 7A, Deck 5 (Upper) with an obstructed balcony view. Our room was 5162, port side, midship, but kinda forward. I really liked the location of this room, but more on that later. We got in and started to check things out. The balcony was bigger than I had expected. It's not HUGE, you can't have a cook-out on it, but the 4 of us could stay out there and not bump into each other. The obstructed view only mattered in that you can't see down. You can see out, you can see side to side, but if you look down, you see lifeboat. Poor DD7 couldn't see anything! I made her stand on a chair and held her around the waist so she could enjoy the view of Ft Lauderdale. Problem solved. My bed was made up into the king. DD7's bed was made, but DD10's loft was still up in the ceiling for now. Our ice bucket was filled and we had plenty of towels. I found a lot of garbage in the room that I don't think should have been there. There was old, used, empty Ziploc bags stuffed along side the safe; some empty, used water bottles in the drawer below the couch/bed; fruit stickers (like Chiquita Banana ones) stuck on the closet doors, room walls, ceilings and mirrors - kind of shocking since the rest of the ship seemed pristine in condition. I started to poke through the amenities basket (not really a basket, a white plastic bowl) and received my second shock of the day. PEANUTS. Loose peanuts were rolling around in the bowl. I looked a little closer and found, tucked amid the packages of Pond's moisture lotion, men's and ladies razors and toothpaste samples, an old, open pack of US Airways peanuts. Whomever had this room before us had discarded their airline peanuts in the amenities bowl. Talk about your bad luck! The bowl was then filled up by our room stewards without being replaced or cleaned or whatever. **Ok. I know not everyone is aware of peanut allergies. Not everyone can comprehend that my child could die from coming in contact with peanuts. I get that. But regardless of the danger factor, what does this say about the cleanliness of everything else? If there had been an open pack of M&M's rolling around in there I still would have felt like the steward was negligent in cleaning the bathroom. I told my daughter to stay the heck out of the bathroom and pressed the room steward button on the phone. I figured they must be super busy getting stuff together, and understandably so, because I waited on hold for about 15 minutes. I finally hung up and called the Purser's Desk. I explained the situation and asked the bowl be removed and the area cleaned. So now we sat in the room and waited for our room steward to show up, not a bad deal, by the way. We liked the room and it was good just to [B]be[/B] there. After about 20 minutes she came in, and said she'd received the message and was sorry but the person who filled the basket/bowl was new and must not have noticed the peanuts in there. I told her I understood, and that it was OK, but please take the bowl/basket out of the room. She went into the bathroom, closed the door, and stayed in there for nearly 5 minutes. I assumed she was cleaning and removing the stuff. She came out empty handed and I said "Thank you so much" and handed her $20. I thought she said "I'm so sorry, I'll be back later to take it out". Um no. I went in to double check, and guess what? The bowl was still there, peanut pieces were still in the bowl and the peanuts and package were in the garbage. Ok, so now I know she "didn't get it". Can't hold that against her. It's a language thing as well as a specific medical issue that most people aren't aware of. I had brought along Clorox wipes. I dumped the contents and the bowl/basket into the garbage, wiped everything down and closed the door. Then I wiped all the door handles, surfaces, light switches, the phone, the TV changer and damn near everything else down with the Clorox wipes. We left the room. When I found our cabin steward later, I explained to her that she had to remove the entire bowl/basket, all the contents and all the peanuts from the room. She said "But I threw the peanuts away!" "But that is your amenities basket! You can keep those samples." I explained about peanut oil, about cross contamination, about how touching those packages could make my daughter's throat close and ca! use her to stop breathing. I still don't think she got it, but she took the basket away. I thought maybe she'd bring a new one some time later, but that never did happen. It was fine. We didn't need the free samples anyway. After this I was a little worried about germs and peanuts and all kinds of stuff. No wait, that's not true. I was petrified! The good news is we had no incidents of any kind while on board. And after that, I always felt our room was cleaned and maintained properly. We had a little time before anything was happening. We walked around some more and ended up near the Spa. We were asked if we'd like to take the Spa tour and we did. There was no incentive mentioned for taking the tour, no discount code, no free demonstration. It was just a tour and I got to see where the Spa showers were for further reference. It was very Spa-like; clean and spartan, just how you want your Spa to be. Lifeboat Drill: This went smoothly. My kids got their bracelets, we listened to the instructions and roasted in the heat. Kinda what I expected. There was an obnoxious drunk women behind us that talked over the announcements, so we missed some things. She was bobbing and weaving and complaining about not being able to smoke while waiting for the muster to be over. Nice. Sail Away: After the Muster we returned to our room to open our bottle the bottle of Asti we'd carried aboard and wait for sail away. I had asked on the cruise website about glasses to drink the Asti out of. I was pleased to see 2 champagne flutes in our stateroom when we got there! Bonus! We all went onto the balcony and blew bubbles as we pulled out of port, waving at people on the intra-coastal and in condos along the way. Lots of fun. This was about 4pm. Our luggage arrived piece by piece. The last piece coming around 5pm. We had the Main Seating (5:45), so we were getting kind of nervous, not wanting to wear our shorts and T-shirts to dinner. Once it all came, we were fine and on our way to Truffles. We had a table on the upper level of the dining room. It was a table for four and across from the window, so we still were able to have a view. Our head waitress was Christina from Rumania. She was very pleasant and cute and friendly. Maya, from Bulgaria, was our Assistant waitress. We liked her a lot also. These 2 girls worked their butts off! Migle was our regular bar waitress. She became a regular pal after a few nights! (Yes, we ordered lots of drinks!) The food was excellent, everything came as ordered. We enjoyed every last bit. I can't tell you what we had each night, but we were usually very pleased with our dinners. Dinner/Camp Carnival: Tonight was the Camp Carnival Orientation. We wanted to attended this talk. It started at 7:30. Looking back, we should have maybe told our wait-girls this as soon as we sat down. It was 7:10 and we didn't have our meals yet. Panic! Panic! My husband caught Christina's eye and told her we need to go to this talk at 7:30 and could she bring our dinners out as soon as possible? They turned on the gas and had our meals and our desserts to us in no time. We were able to make the talk and actually waited in Follies till about 7:45 for it to start. The Camp Director explained everything (it was all pretty much old news to me as I had read about and researched the Camp extensively). All the counselors came on stage, told where they were from and what they did. After the talk, Meagan, the 9-11 Inters counselor was waiting in the back of the lounge to sign kids up for the Late Night Party that would take place the night we left Costa Rica. I signed DD10 up for that and found out that there is also a Late Night Party for the 6-8's on Belize night. That wasn't something you need to sign up for in advance though. I spoke the head counselor after the talk regarding DD7's peanut allergy. She knew all about her and I felt totally confident that she would be safe. I also spoke with Amy who does the ExerSeas program. She has a sister with Anaphylaxis to strawberries. All these things helped alleviate most of my fears regarding DD7's safety while at Camp Carnival. Welcome Party: The next thing scheduled on our Capers for us to do was Camp Carnival Welcome Party at 8:15 held in the Medusa's Lair Disco. This is for parents and kids. The counselors were there, manning the Dj booth and dancing. They drag the reluctant parents out there to do the YMCA and stuff. DH and I did it. It was fun. Kinda. Funship Freddie came and danced too. The kids loved it. We beat it out of there a little early so that we could go back to the cabin and get the kids ready for Camp Carnival later that night. We spent the night in the casino. I expected to drop lots of money in there and not win. This was going by the many comments I'd read about tight slots and no big pay offs. I love to gamble and I do so when ever we can afford to loose. DH plays Blackjack, I play Roulette and slots. Here's the thing. If you bet big you win big. Or you loose big. If you're betting a nickel per spin on a nickel machine, you're going to win 2 nickels. If you're betting 100 nickels per spin, you may just win 4000 nickels. I hit the slots for more than $1000 total over the week. I put most of it back, but that's the fun of gambling for me, and I don't know when to walk away. I spent a lot of time in the casino! Since we were both winning, me at the slots and DH at the tables, we skipped the adult comedy. We picked the kids of from Camp Carnival which, by the way, is on Deck 5, same as our cabin. This made it really easy to go back and forth to check on the kids, grab them a sweater, etc. No towel animal tonight. Kids were disappointed, but I assured them they'd get one soon. We ordered room service, some bagels, juice and a BLT. It came really quickly and everything was great. We were sleeping by 1am. Loooong day! Day 4 Our first Sea Day: Breakfast: We had breakfast each morning on the Lido Deck at the Unicorn Cafe. Every morning there was the following: oatmeal, grits, a Spanish soup, an Asian soup, ham, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, white, wheat toast and toasted bagels, hash browns and either pancakes or French toast. There was also condiments available: butter, margarine, syrup, honey, sugar-free syrup, jellies, marmalade, jams, sugar-free jellies, cream cheese, brown sugar, raisins. Separate from those things were lots of cereal varieties, Danish, melon, pineapple, apples, pears and oranges. We didn't have a problem finding pool side chairs this day. We stayed at the pool the entire day. The band "Kolorz" came on at noon. They weren't very good. The music sounded like it was trying to be reggae, but it missed. The songs were like radio songs with the same bad reggae beat. And it was loud. Not good loud, but "speakers are turned up too loud" loud. At some point during breakfast I realized I couldn't find my prescription sunglasses. I went to the Purser's Desk to ask if they'd been returned there but they hadn't. I searched the room a little and then decided to file a missing item report. Today was Legend Survivor which takes place on the Lido Deck stage (once it's vacated by the pseudo-reggae band). My kids watched it. It was "eh". They replay this like every 5 minutes on the in-room "Funvision". So if you miss it, you'll have another million chances to see it. While this was going on, I ran down to Deck 3 and bought some new sunglasses, obviously not prescription, to hold me over. The sun was reallllly bright! After lunch at the Grill and more pool time, we headed in to get ready for the first Formal Night. DH went down to get his tux. When he got back I packed a bag and went to the Spa to take a shower. These showers are really great. I took one there for the first 5 days. Then I just didn't feel like packing up my crap and started taking them in our cabin. There are maybe 5 shower rooms in the locker room area of the Spa. Each has a front changing space with a bench, sliding glass doors, pumps on the wall of Dove shampoo and Dove cool cucumber body wash (the same 2 that are in the cabin showers), one "rain" shower head and 4 shooting out of the wall. I liked these showers. The one problem I had was that they were HOT. Of course showers are hot, but these rooms needed some ventilation. There are piles of towels out in the changing area where the lockers are. It might just be me, but these towels were more fluffy and thicker than the cabin ones. We ordered some room service to hold us over till dinner. Just some veggies and dip and fruit salad. It is sooo great to be able to pick up the phone get stuff! When we were dressed for our formal dinner, we went to Decks 2 and 3 for picture taking. We did about 20 poses with one background, then got in line for the Captain's Cocktail Party. I guess when they're giving away free drinks it makes people crazy. Honestly, people were knocking us down to get in there. We met the CD Lenny who introduced us to the Captain. We found a seat and got some gross drinks (some kind of sour, rum punch, etc.) then wised up and ordered beers. Our waitress brought them to us no problem. The hor's devours they offered were chicken nuggets, meatballs in barbecue sauce, a little Mexican meat pie thing, and some phyllo dough thing. Not bad. They came around a lot. Lenny Halliday came on stage and introduced the captain who introduced the crew members. When this was over they showed a video. Dinner this night was awesome. Lobster tails and other yummy stuff. Our waitresses greeted us and said they had something for me. My sunglasses! I'd left them at dinner last night and Christina had taken them with her, to her cabin so they'd be safe. This was such a relief to me! Tonight we were in no hurry and enjoyed our meals at a leisurely pace. After dinner we changed. We couldn't stay in those clothes any longer! I know it's fun to dress up, but I'd had enough from 4 till 8. We had our first towel animal! It was an elephant (we think). This was a favorite part of the day; going back to the cabin after dinner to see what kind of animal was left, grab one of the mints and browse through the next day's Capers. The kids went to Camp Carnival. Then to the show with the camp. I was worried that they wouldn't like it, but they both did. We, of course, went to the casino. We checked on them a few times during the night, and finally picked them up around 1:30. We were all beat! Another gorgeous day at Sea! Today we slept late! I mean late. We almost missed the Lido breakfast. S'ok. Since we never do this, at home or on vacation, it felt strange and we ended up being sluggish all day. Since we didn't get out to the pool till around 11, there were. of course, no pool chairs available. My kids went to the Camp Carnival talent show sign-ups and dance class. I just needed one chair for me, one for DH. We'd eaten outside and I began scouting chairs when we sat down to eat, around 10:45. We sat on the edge of the pool for 45 minutes waiting for a chair to open. After 1 hour, I went up to the security guard. I told him we'd been here for over an hour and not once had any one come near these chairs (an entire row). He shrugged and said I should go tell someone near the towels station. Yeah. Right. This guy had no freaking clue what I was saying. I tried to explain to him that the chairs had been saved and wasn't that not allowed? Nuthin. After an hour and a half I walked over to one of the chairs, picked up a library book that was the supposed "marker" and plopped it on another chair. I stayed there till 2:00. Nobody came. Ridiculous. So now I knew I'd have to stoop to that level. Like Ron Burgundy says "When in Rome...". I left just before the Ice Carving started. I was fried and I needed to start getting everyone ready for the night. The wind was really kicking up now. I started to feel seasick for the first time in my life. Not pretty. After a trip to the Spa shower for me, we were ready to head out for the evening. We went to Deck 3 to check out the shops and hit on the Free Rum Cake Tasting. Yum. I ended up spending about $50 on rum cake! At this point I thought, "Ok, I'm gonna loose it". I went out to the deck for air. DH and the kids looked at the pictures from our formal night. We bought one that came out fairly nice. The 8x10's are $19.99. This can really add up! We went to our dinner and I stuck with club soda this night. My stomach just wouldn't take any hard stuff. Neither DH not the kids felt anything at this point. As we were walking out of the dinning room, one of the Legend Showgirls was posing for pictures. She was in yellow, feathers and all, and so was DD7 (minus the feathers). We got a really cute picture of DD7 and the showgirl. I think it's framed on DH's desk right now. Eh hmm. Back to the room. Towel animal #2 was a swan - very cute. I popped some Bonine and was good to go. Kids the Camp for a little while, DH and I hit the casino. He made friends with a nice couple from Nova Scotia while at the Blackjack table. We decided to check out the Piano Bar. This one of things we looked forward to most. We love a good Piano Bar! Well, we sure couldn't find one on this ship! Ugh. We did find the couple from Nova Scotia there and we thought "Hey this'll be fun! We'll hang out, listen and sing along..." Um no. This guy was bad. I mean b.a.d. He wasn't funny, he wasn't entertaining and he was unappealing to look at. Really off-putting. The set up is a good one however. The piano rotates behind the bar so you can watch him playing. There are bar stools and tables further back. Back to the guy... This was Gregg, just so there's no confusion. He had song books that you could flip through, choose a song, shout it out and he'd (attempt) to play it. So DH calls out a song (it was Brandy). The guy did not know the words to his own songs. I mean, how hard is it to know the words to 20 or so songs? *I* knew all the words to these songs, and it's NOT my profession! So disappointing. We listened for about 30 minutes. We would have left sooner but the waiter took like 25 minutes to come back with our drink order. As soon as he showed up, we took off. Grabbed the kids, ordered room service and hit the hay. Panama The port in Panama is picturesque. Brightly painted store fronts, mountains off in the distance. The Legend docks sideways (I'm sure there's a nautical term for that, I just don't know it) and we were lucky that our cabin was port side because we woke to the scenery. Very nice. We got up with the plan of breakfast, getting off and shopping, coming back and spending the day at the pool/water slide. Believe it or not we did not book any excursions in Panama or Costa Rica. No touring, no seeing the Locks or Rain Forest. We just didn't. I know that's the whole reason to go to Panama and this itinerary but our kids would've been moaning that they didn't want to take a bus/taxi ride to where ever to get on another vessel to where ever to get back on the first vessel and back on the ship. Again - that's our kids. Other kids would love the zipline tours and the cave tubing. Ours wanted to hang out on the ship and go on the water slide. As to this specific itinerary, the dates worked for us; we left mid-week, had lots of sea days and came back mid-week which makes flights so much less expensive. So, no, we didn't go on this cruise for the ports of call. Breakfast: The ship was nearly deserted. This only mattered because we were easily able to find a table for breakfast and pool chairs later in the day. I have to say, I don't think I ever felt crowded. With over 2000 passengers aboard, we never had to wait in huge lines. Ever. We lathered on the sunscreen and grabbed our camera and some cash and headed forward of the ship to Deck A toward the gangway. You can't get to Deck A from all the elevators, I'm pretty sure not the glass ones. We didn't have to go through a search or anything as we got off, just hand over your S&S cards, wait for the "bloop" and off you go. Colon, Panama: We stepped on to a big dock and the cruise terminal thing is off to your left, the port being in front of you. We went in then up an escalator to the walkway and passed a group of men playing island music. Then the barrage began. We were chased down by people selling tours, wanting to take you in their cars, wanting money, whatever. They do a fairly good job of keeping the people away from the terminal, but the guards must let some through, because there they were. Down another set of escalators into the little shopping area. More men chasing after us to go in their cars, to the zoo, and God knows where else. For me, all it took was a "No thank you". But they kept on DH, obviously thinking he was the one with the money. It was a little disturbing. Now, keep in mind we are big city people. New York City is a 45 minute drive away. We are used to people asking for money on the street. My kids see this all the time, they know not to make eye contact and to keep walking. They were petrified. They kept saying "I want to go back on the ship. I want to go back on the ship". The shopping area is a crescent shape of stores, curving out from the escalator at the terminal. There is a grocery store - this was cool. We poked around in there for a while. There are little trinket stores along the way as well. DD10 bought a drum. (?) DD7 and I bought bracelets. 2 for $12, but she took $10 for it. I think they expect you to bargain and that they make the price higher for that reason. When we got to the edge of the buildings we kinda looked around like "should we go that way?" A group of men sitting on at a table nearby said "No! Don't go that way. Nothing over there for you". Ok! Thanks for the tip! We made it around the other side of the crescent and there was nothing much to see so we headed back toward the ship. We got a picture of the girls with a man who was playing some kind of wind instrument in the terminal walkway. I was just trying to take a picture of the kids with the ship in the background and Panama to the right. He gets in the picture, gets between the girls, they're terrified and I take it quick and the guy walks up to Dave and points to his money cup. Yeah, we got it dude, you want money for taking a picture with our kids. There is shopping at the foot of the escalators. Nice Panama souvenir shirts for $5, someone selling post cards, and a hat stand. On the other side of the escalators is a duty free liquor store. They had samples of rum, frozen margarita and coffee to try. They also had single beers - Heinken was 65 cents a can! There was no line to enter the ship. We had to show our S&S cards again, wait for the "bloop" and have our bags scanned. Painless. We were back aboard in time for lunch! Lunch, pool, waterslide. It was open today and my kids spent a couple hours there. Lunch on the Lido Deck was excellent. French was the featured cuisine. I remember some mushroom thing that was so good. About the Asian side of the buffet; every day there were choices of a soup(Hot and Sour, WonTon, etc) a rice, a lo mein, a vegetable entree, a meat entree or two, and a spring roll or fried won ton (dim sum) - this was always good. I had a Goombay Smash, the DOD, which tasted like pineapple juice and a little rum. Today was "Sports Trivia" on the Lido Deck as there was no reggae band playing. Jen, the assistant CD did this. She was amusing. She didn't know a darn thing about sports, so she just read the questions. The way this works is you go up to the stage, get a form and a pencil then you can basically go anywhere in earshot to fill out your form. Now if you realllly wanted to win a solid gold plastic ship on a stick, all you'd do is take 2 forms, and fill in a blank one with the right answers as they're read. Not very diplomatic. I sat right in front of the stage and "played along" with Jen. I knew lots of the answers, I think 15 out of 20. Someone knew all 20. Hmmm... one of the questions was "how many dimples on a golf ball?" Not to be cynical, but I guess I am... these people weren't sitting up front! Eh, what can you do? About 3pm we decided to skip dinner in the dinning room and stay longer at the pool. After getting showered up for the night, we swung by the 5:30 3 hour Diamond Sale in the Gift Shop. Just window shopping. We had dinner in the Unicorn Cafe. It was an OK break from the dinning room, and sure took a lot less time to get a meal in. But I missed the whole experience and was sure we'd be going back to Christina and Maya tomorrow! This is where I saw the man washing his hands and forearms under the drinking water fountain. Also 2 people thought it would be ok to wear the room bathrobes to dinner. This made us all uncomfortable. And... just so you know, we're normal... at home my kids run around naked nightly...they have no shame. But in the middle of a restaurant? Nah. It was just uncalled for. I don't want to hear any crap about "maybe their luggage got lost". No. I'd seen them before. You couldn't miss this girl. She stood out. She HAD other clothes. Ok, enough. We made sure we were ready for the 8:30 show "Singin' With the Big Band" with Christopher Allen Graves. The kids went to Camp and the counselor told us the kids would be on stage and part of the show. Graves was excellent. All the kids in Camp Carnival went on stage and sat with him when he sang "Candy Man". It was cute. Back to the casino for us. I want to mention the singer in the casino, Pat. This guy was good. Not a huge repertoire, but he fit the casino perfectly and kept the mood going. He did Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers, Jimmy Buffet and more. I liked him. The end of another pretty good day. Limon, Costa Rica We did the same ol' thing as Panama; woke up, ate breakfast on the Lido Deck, got packed up and went ashore. As I mentioned, we have no tours planned for this day either. Exiting the ship was pretty much the same as in Colon. Very easy. When we got off here you could really feel the heat. It was steamy. You step off to the port and a walkway that takes you past a tour tent. The prices looked pretty good in comparison (that is if they were per car/van and not per person - I didn't ask). Nobody mugging us to take their tours, we just kept walking till we got to the shopping area. This was a tarp covered flea market kind of thing. I felt pretty safe there for some reason. As soon as we got into the tent a woman asked if we wanted to have the girls' hair braided. We did. She said "special price, both for $40". Sounded good to us. She took us to the front left of the tent thing where a "beauty shop" was set up. They did manicures, pedicures and massages there. Right there. Molly went first, she got to pick her beads and her clips. I asked how long it would take and she said "15 minutes". Actually it was more like 30 minutes, but we didn't mind. She did a great job on both girls. We gave her $50 and were on our way. We did a lot of shopping in this area. We bought some wood crafts, coffee, funky necklaces for the kids and an embroidered bag for my mom. I noticed there was an inside shopping area too. I asked our hair lady what was in there. She said "same thing, just more money, high rent". Made sense to me. We did go inside to check it out though. They had a "pharmacy" of sorts. You look through a book and they guy sends someone to get the meds you want. We looked through it and saw some Tylenol with codeine and other recognizable generic drugs. It all seemed pretty official in there. There was a coffee bean stand also. They had coffee for sampling and chocolate covered coffee beans. We bought a lot of this stuff. I think there may be crack in those beans because my husband can not stop eating them! Junkie! We thought we'd venture outside and shop a little, but one foot out the door and we were smacked with the hawkers. Back in we go! We had to show our S&S cards to an armed guard upon reentry. Like I said, we literally stepped out the door. Pretty tight security. There was also duty free liquor in there. We bought a few beers. The Pilsen was $2 a can and it was goooood. Stronger than your average beer, 2 had us feeling a little loopy. Time to head back to the ship. There was a line forming to get back aboard. It didn't take longer than 5 minutes and we were headed up to get our suits on and hit the pool and grab lunch. The kids wanted the waterslide again. The view from Deck 10 is pretty amazing. I was looking around, seeing if we were getting ready to pull away (we were supposed to leave port at 3pm and it was about 3:30) and then I saw the reason we hadn't left. The LINE to get back on board was about 200 people deep! Yikes! We followed our pattern of getting ready, having a drink in the Odyssey Lounge, then going to dinner. After dinner, we went back to the room to find a sloth hanging from the room border! So cute! We thought it was a monkey, but we had a monkey another day, so since we were in Costa Rica, we went with the theme and called him a sloth. The girls went to the Camp. Tonight was the SUPER LATE NIGHT PARTY for 9-11 year olds. We had signed DD10 up in the beginning of the week. The cost was $26 and it went from 10:00pm-3:30am. A councilor walked her back to the room at 3:30. I guess she had a good time... she proved it by being miserable for the next 2 day! I went to the Camp to check on DD7 about 10. She did not look good. She said she wanted to leave. Now. I got her back to the room and ran back to the Camp to check on DD10. While I was gone, DD7 was sick. Poor Dad had to clean that up. Hee Hee. DD10 was looking pretty green too, but she ended up making it the whole night at the Party. We didn't go to the Deck Party tonight. We saw them setting up tables earlier in the day in front of the stage area on the Lido Deck. We all stayed in the room and tried to fight the motion of the ocean, well, except DD10 who was doing Freaky Fear Factor, Hide and Seek, Dance Revolution and Lord knows what else! I wasn't worried though. The counselors were with them the whole time. Another long day in the books. Sunday, 2nd Formal Night 3rd Sea Day We're on the way to Belize! Today, the seas are much more calm. Finally! We decided that since tomorrow we'd be spending the day at the beach on our excursion to the Private Island Beach Break on Bannister Island off Belize, we'd stay away from the pool/sun and do some of the on board activities. After breakfast on the Lido Deck DD10 went to Camp Carnival to do a scavenger hunt. There were lots of these throughout the week. I think she did everyone. She loved these. DD7's group was doing bingo and an opposites game. DH and I hit the casino for a little while and then caught the end of The Ultimate Mind Game in the Follies Lounge. This was another trivia-type game, all trick questions. I wish we'd been there for the beginning. We knew them all. Rats! We stayed for the next game, Sea Feud, which is Carnival's version of Family Feud. I got picked to play! Fun. The questions were regarding aboard life and were pretty subjective. Again, it was for fun and I laughed and had a good time. My team didn't win. We got a runner-up ribbon/medal. The other team got the ships on a stick. Truthfully, your mind goes blank up there! It's like watching Wheel of Fortune at home... you scream at the TV "What's wrong with you dummies? How could you get on the show and not know that??" You just freeze! Duh. After a little more casino time we picked up the kids from camp and had lunch. DH and the kids stayed on the Lido deck to watch the Hairy Chest Competition. He said it was funny. I can't comment. They went to the Card Room and played cards for a while and I met them there. We were back in the Follies to watch the Newlywed Game. The kids were with us and this may have been a little too adult for them. Honestly, most of it went over their heads (I think). After that we walked around and looked at some of the photos taken. We didn't' really have a lot. We never got one taken as we got off in the ports, we never had one taken on deck. We didn't avoid them, we just weren't asked. Kinda disappointing. We did buy all of the dinning room poses they took, except the one with the pirate...? This lame-looking pirate guy comes around to your table during dinner and you pose with him. What is up with that? Just bizarre. Does anyone buy these? We missed Tea Time on the other sea days, so I made sure we were there for it today. We went to the Atlantis Lounge at 3:35. Tea Time was 3:30. I guess we should have showed up a little earlier. All the seats were taken. All the bar seats were taken. We tried to sit at the end of the bar and the bartender said "Can I help you ma'am?" I said "We'd like tea". He said "Can you sit somewhere else? We like to leave these seats open so the waitresses can serve from here". Well, there wasn't anywhere else to sit so we left. If you want to go to Tea, go at least 30 minutes early and stake out a seat. One of our waitresses, Maya, was serving tea. Later that night, we asked her why there were no seats. She said people camp there - just park it and sit there all day waiting for tea. Ok, so now I know. After that fiasco, we headed back to Follies. We made it in time for Bingo. This was one of the pre-show bingos. Actually, I think they're all pre-something. What we wanted to watch was the Towel Folding Demonstration. This was not what I expected. After the bingo, they stage is set with tables, one stage front, and a bunch in the back. The social host (this was Andrew, he was great all week) introduces a group of room stewards. One of them comes to the front and starts to demonstrate. Then he invites people to come on stage and get a close up look at the other demonstrations. If you don't go on stage, you don't see anything. My kids were right up there. We sat in the audience and couldn't see a thing, not even the one in front because people on stage totally surrounded the table. Whatever. The kids were happy. We bought the towel folding book ($12 maybe?) and thought it was money well spent since it kept the kids busy for the rest of the trip. DD7 was quite good at it! Back upstairs to get ready for the 2nd Formal Night. Tux for DH, pink dresses for the girls and black pantsuit for me. Or not. I forgot the pants. Luckily I had another dressy type dress that I felt was dressy enough, especially after seeing what other people considered "formal" on the 1st Formal Night. So we were good to go. We took lots of pictures this time, different background, some just me and DH, some just the kids. We ended up getting a few good ones, but less than I would've liked. Dinner this night was ok. I can't recall the exact menu, just that I wasn't really thrilled with it. The kids wanted to go to the Take II show, so we dropped them off at the Camp and we did a little shopping and went back to the casino. DH was beat and decided to call it a night. Tonight is the Grand Gala Buffet. We were all about this. I picked the kids up from the Camp at 10pm and we walked around the ship a bit, waiting for the viewing time to start. The Capers said Truffles would open at 11:30 for picture taking, but all of a sudden people started bum-rushing the door around 11:15 and so we just followed the crowd. We took so many pictures! Everything looked awesome, incredible. We had over an hour till the Buffet was open for actual eating, so we thought we'd go check on Dad and see if he felt like joining us.... Why don't we just lay down for a few minutes. We'll go to the Buffet soon. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. We all fell asleep, sound asleep, in our clothes. Woke up about 4 am! No buffet for us! Belize: Our only booked excursion was to be Bannister Island, the Private Island Beach Break offered only by Carnival on this particular day. It was very inexpensive, around $160 total for the 4 of us. It included one rum or fruit punch, your ride back and forth in the tender boat, and 4 hours of beach time. Just what we were looking for. Yesterday, we stayed away from the pool so that we wouldn't be fried for our beach day. I walked out onto the balcony today and it was gray. Cold, rainy and gray. It'll clear up, right? We had a regular breakfast on the Lido Deck, came back to the cabin to pack sunscreen, Carnival towels (we had to request 2 more, we only ever had 2 in our room), cameras, etc. Our tour tickets (these were delivered to our room on our first night) said out tender left at 9:30 and that we should be at the Follies Lounge 15 minutes early. This was really screwy. We walk into the Follies lounge and there were people walking in, people walking out, people lined up at the stage, people in the chairs, people in groups in the back. We didn't know what the heck we were supposed to do. There was a social host on stage giving instructions. I caught the end of him saying "....get a sticker up front at the stage". So I walked down there, told the rest of the gang to grab a seat. Turns out he wasn't calling my group but that didn't seem to matter. It was totally confusing. I showed one of the Carnival employees my tickets. She said "Oh, you're going to Bannister Island? We can offer you a full refund because of the weather. Or you can still go." Oy. Did they know something about the weather that they weren't letting on? Not that it's Carnival's fault - of course that's just ridiculous, but I felt out of touch. No computer, no local news stations. How would we know if there was bad weather coming? Also, this was our only excursion. Did we want to wimp out because of gray skies? Nahhh. We decided to go for it. We got our colored, numbered stickers and took a seat. Within 5 minutes the Host announced that those of us going on to Bannister Island with stickers numbered "2" should follow this guy. So off we went, down to Deck 1 where the tenders are. We passed some crew areas on the way. We got out onto the platform, handed our tickets and climbed aboard. This boat is small, but fits about 75 people. Most of it is covered. Our guide said the ride over would be about 20-25 minutes. We got there in 10. The approach of the Island is great, so cool. You pull up to a wooden dock and there's a girl there handing out your tickets for punch. It's about 10 am. This is a gorgeous island. It looks "unspoiled" and pristine. A white sandy shoreline, palm trees, grass huts. Paradise. The sand is white, but it sticks to you powder. There are lounge chairs lining the shore and thatched umbrellas with tables underneath. There is a kids play area with swings, slides and a see-saw. The gift shop is very small, closet sized actually. There is a walk-up food stand that served hot dogs, hamburgers, bbq chicken, red beans and rice and maybe other stuff for all I know. I didn't go near it. The bathrooms were very clean and new looking. There was running water and soap. There were signs above the toilets asking you not to throw any paper in to them, to put paper in the garbage cans next to the toilets. I don't know why. I'm guessing a water treatment issue. There is a large bar area with a huge square bar and table and chairs under a thatched roof. We parked our stuff on a lounge chair near the water and walked toward the play area. The kids stayed on the swings and junk for a while. The island photographer took a picture of DH and the kids on the swing. We walked out onto the pier and looking down saw clown fish in the water near the wood. Nemo! We took some pictures with the underwater camera. I haven't developed them yet. The girls walked the beach and picked up shells. They had really cool kinds, the kind you never find on Long Island Sound, but they were reallllly small. We took another photo of the 4 of us by the pier. We got our rum punches (unfriendly bartender) and prepared for some beach time. Ok, I haven't mentioned the fact that it's getting pretty dark and cold out. We feel rain drops but pretend not to. Molly is huddled under her towel yelling "I'm cold! I'm wet! And I don't know where my shoes are!" It's about time for lunch and we notice a bunch more people coming from the dock area. We determined that there was a second group of Legend passengers with a later departure time that were arriving. Ok, now it's raining. Realllllly raining. Cold rain. Not "Let's ignore the rain" rain. We moved under an umbrella area in front of the gift shop. DH and the kids decided to brave out the island food. The kids got hot dogs and fries. They liked them well enough. DH's burger was orange. We're not sure what kind of burger it was, but we are pretty sure it wasn't beef. The people just coming on the island were crowding into the gift shop to purchase towels, shirts, anything they can to keep warm. It's raining too hard to stay under the umbrella, so we move to the bar area. The bartenders and island manager are behind the bar. These are the freaking most unfriendly bunch of guys I've come across the entire vacation. Rude. Ignoring the customers, talking amongst themselves. You know what? It's pouring! There's nothing to do but drink. Can you SELL us some drinks please? Jeez! We see some people walking toward the dock and decide to check things out. There was another boat, a catamaran, and the boat that we came over in docked at the pier. We asked the guide people if they'd be willing to take us back early since it was pouring. They said "majority rules, you got to get the other people back on board too." So we sat on there alone for about 30 minutes. At least we were dry. The guide guys then told us they were only going to make one run back to the ship, combining the 2 departure times. They were able to do this because lots of the people that had originally come over on this tender had already left on the catamaran! Huh? What? We could've left on the catamaran and gone back to the Legend? Why didn't any one tell us that? It's 11:30. We want to know when this tender will go back to the Legend. "As soon as everyone gets on board. We make one trip back." I asked if they let anyone know this. They didn't seem to think they needed to. I took it upon myself to get off the tender, leave my husband and kids, and try to do a good dead. I went up to every single person on that island and told them "The tender is going to make one run back to the Legend. Once everyone is on board, they're leaving" . Lots of people got on board. We sat there with about 40 people for another 30 minutes. Our tender was supposed to leave Bannister Island at 1:00. The second group's tender was supposed to leave Bannister Island at 2:00. The general chatter on board was "Let's get back to the ship - get dry, get lunch, try to rescue some of this day." At 12:30 the island manager comes on and yells (now this is a BIG man) "You don't have to leave. You can stay on the island until your time is up. They lie to you." Obviously this guy wanted to sell more drinks. He was loosing a day's business and he was pissed. Sorry buddy! We're done! Some obnoxious passengers started arguing with him. We just sat there waiting for the captain to start the engines and leave! Guess what? The guide guy tells us that there are still a few passengers on the island. THEY don't want to leave. THEY paid for 4 hours of beach time and they're getting their 4 hours of beach time. THEY don't give a crap about the 40+ people waiting on THEM. Apparently they came to the beach to sit in the rain and read a book while drinking soda. You know, because you can't do that stuff on the ship! How inconsiderate can you possibly be? In my entire life I've never been able to be that selfish. Why are the wants of these few people more important than the needs of the majority of people? Who the hell are they? When this group finally came on board, they were all smug and self-righteous. These are the same kinds of people who talk on their cell phones in the middle of a restaurant, like they're the only people in the world that matter. Pathetic. When we finally started moving, we stopped half way through to see dolphins, as it turned out. More inconsiderate people... My little kids are trying to look out the tender's window to see the dolphin. This older guy slides the window near him open, which then makes the window my daughters are looking out of double-pained glass. They couldn't see anything! He is practically jumping out the window to see these dolphins, spouting all this marine biology 101 stuff and all the while the little kids are looking at foggy glass! It was so crappy. I said "Can you close that so the rest of us can see?" I guess that's when he lost his ability to speak English because he didn't answer me and he didn't move. Jerk. SO.. we get off the tender, go grab lunch and try to salvage a blown trip. Let me reiterate. None of this should be taken as a bashing of Carnival. I think, had "they" (whomever "they" are) known we were heading for a cold, rainy day, they would've canceled the excursion all together. I feel the Bannister Island management company was so furious at loosing a day's receipts that they deceptively tried to get people to stay on, even though the weather was horrible and there are no indoor areas. I think there should be some policy in place.... "This is what we do when the weather is poor" and that it should be enforced. All passengers have to follow the rules, including the ones that think they don't have to follow the rules. You can't control the weather, but you sure can make people aware of things. Back on board. We head up to the Lido Deck for lunch. It's still early enough that we didn't miss the buffet. That was good. It's not raining, but it's not sunny either. The kids want to do the waterslide. I head to the shops to get some take-home gifts for people. We know we want to go to the hypnotist's show tonight at 8:45. We have our dinner at Truffles and then drop by Camp Carnival to sign DD7up. Tonight is 6-8 year old's All Night Party. It's really just till 1 a.m. but for my 7 year old, that's plenty late enough. The party doesn't start till 10, so we'll be able to see the show, get her changed into pj's, drop her off and head back out. Tonight is also the past guest party in the Follies Lounge. We kind of hung around by the entrance because we weren't sure what was going on in there and didn't want to walk in on something "private". A Carnival guy said "Please, go right in!" We did. We sat and watched Lenny Halliday do his thing and then another promotional Carnival video. We didn't have any of the hors d'oeuvres they were passing since we'd just finished dinner, but I did grab a melon sour from the passing waiters. Yuck yuck and double yuck. Once the presentation was over and the crowd began to file out to go to their late seating dinner, we were able to move right to the front row, dead center. The place really started filling up! Before the show started, DH got up to use the bathroom. He was gone mayyyyybe 1 minute. A woman climbs over to his place and sits down, sitting right on top of DD10's sweater. She starts waving to the man she was with to come on over. Hello!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I said "Excuse me, you're in my husband's seat." Crazy lady: "Oh" Me: "He just went to the men's room." CL(crazy lady): "Oh. Is he coming back?" Me: "Yes. I'm sorry you can't sit here." CL: "Oh. Someone's sitting here?" Ok, now I'm getting annoyed. The gentleman on the other side of her says "Lady, that is someone's seat! Get up!" DD10 yanks her sweater out from under the lady's butt and finally she seems to focus and realize SHE'S IN SOMEONE'S SEAT! It was really unbelievable. Ok, off of that, on to this. The hypnotist. This guy was... different. While introducing him, the CD said he flew in to Belize just for this performance. He's a tall guy, bald. He had the biggest, longest shoes I've ever seen. His voice was weird... hypnotic if you will...hee hee. His voice reminded me of Nicholas Cage in "Peggy Sue Got Married" - he's all nasally, pretending to be a teenager and then his voice gets deeper or cracks(Cage I mean). Funny, but that's what I kept hearing. Nicholas Cage as a teenager. So he does a few cool tricks on the audience then says he needs 20 volunteers to come up on stage. Man, people ran up there like he was giving away free rum cake samples! So then there's one chair open. We talked DH into going up. It was so cool. Since we were in the front row, he hoped the stage and took his seat. I won't give it away, that wouldn't be fair. But I will say out of the 20 people, I think 2 or 3 were actually under and none were my husband. The rest were faking. After a while, the hypno-guy (I can't remember his name and I can't find my Capers for this day!) would tap people on the shoulder and say "Thank you, you can take your seat". Some people just got up on there own. All in all, it was a good show. I would recommend it. The kids cracked up! We all enjoyed it. The rest of the night was pretty routine, Camp Carnival, casino. We were ready for a good day by the pool tomorrow! Our last day :( I woke up bright and early to a sunny day! Woo Hoo! I grabbed my "stuff" (sunscreen, beach bag, book, camera) and headed up to the Lido Deck. I got some Frosted Flakes, coffee and found 2 deck chairs at the main pool, nearest the bar on the starboard side, at the very end of the row. It was about 7:30a.m. I sat, ate my cereal, drank my coffee, read my book. A little while later, Dave and the kids met me. We stayed there for a while. We wanted to do the "TV Trivia Game" that was being held in Follies. We all left the stuff and headed down there for the game. Um, suffice to say we watch a LOT of TV and we know a LOT of trivia. We won! 17 out of 20! The kids ran up and got our plastic ship on a stick. This was a good time. We headed back to the pool. Dave and the kids stayed there the rest of the day. I shopped and gambled a little. Then I went back to the cabin and started packing. Phooey. I came up to the pool around 2 to find that they'd all been swimming and sunning and having a great old time without me. Well, enough of that! I claimed one of the 2 chairs, which now had wet pool towels on it as well as all our junk. Dave gets up to go to men's room (every time this guy leaves to pee, something happens!). A woman comes over, blocks the sun so I look up. Crazy Lady#2: "Is that your towel?" Me: "The one I'm laying on? Yeah, that's mine. Well, actually it's my daughter's. She just used it when she got out of the pool. It's soaking wet." I smile. CL#2: "Oh, I think that's my towel. Those are my chairs." Me: "These chairs? No. We've been sitting on these chairs all day." CL#2: "Well, I'm sure I saved these chairs and 2 towels. Are you sure those are your towels?" Me: "YES! I've been here since 7:00 this morning! These are my towels! I had breakfast here. Right here." CL#2: "Mumble mumble, husband, mumble, room, towel, mumble" She walks away. Dave comes back. I tell him what happened (and think, my God! ARE these our towels??) He says "What? We've been here all day! Wait I have the receipt from the towel rental!" He pulls it out and I can taste the victory! All of a sudden, it gets strangely dark, like a black cloud has descended upon us.....the sun is gone..... she's back. This time she comes behind my husband who had his back to the pool, straddling the chair. She puts her meaty hooks on his shoulders and says: CL#2: "I'm going to ask you again, are you sure those are your towels?" Dave: "Yes! Here's the receipt!" Me: "LADY! We've been here all day! He has the receipt!" CL#2: "Now, it's okay. I won't be mad. Just tell the truth. Did you take my towels?" WHAT THE HELL ARE WE? 4????? Dave: "We didn't take your towels! These are our chairs! I have the receipt." CL#2 : "I won't be mad if you did. I just want to know. You should just tell me if you took my towels." Me: "I cannot believe this. Are you sure it was here. There are 2 other pools you know. Was it this pool? On this side of the ship?" CL#2: "Mumble, husband, room, mumble......" walks away. Okay. Now we're starting to steam. Come ON! Are ya nuts? THAT corked it. You're going along, having a nice afternoon, the kids are playing, the sun is shining, the drinks are flowing and some nutjob comes up and accuses you of something and Splat! There goes the good time. We waited a while to see if she went and got her husband or someone else, but she never did come back. What a LOON! Now for the topper.... We go to leave, and head toward the forward elevators by the Spa. Guess who we see? WITH her pool towels, in the last 2 chairs on the starboard side... yep, you got it. Crazy Lady #2 herself. The old bat was at the wrong pool! Rather than just listen to us, she harassed us and talked to us like we were a couple of toddlers! People suck. And what did my husband want to do? Well, he wanted to go over there and snatch Crazy Lady#2's towels just for fun. Wouldn't you? But of course, that would've been rude. It's getting-ready and dinner time and we don't want to miss the chance to say goodbye and thanks to our wait staff, so off we go. Grrrrrrr. We were nearly packed when we left for dinner. That stinks. We decided to do self-debarkation. That meant we didn't have to have our luggage ready for pick-up and we could finish packing when we came back from our night out. When I say "we" I mean "me". We found the maitre'd tip envelope waiting for us when we returned from the pool. We went back and forth over this. What does this guy do? Ok, he assigned our table, but other than telling some jokes after dinner, what has he done for us lately? I had no point of reference for tipping him either. What was a fair amount? $5? $10? $20? We took the envelope with us when we left and thought we'd figure it out along the way. Since we didn't have many posed photos, and by chance we were all wearing white shirts, we decided to try to get another good one in. After this it was dinner time. I've seen it mentioned before, but I think it needs repeating. Why Why Why do they have the cigar/smoking lounge right outside the dinning room? Sitting next to someone smoking doesn't really bother me. Sitting in the middle of 30 people smoking and a few of them smoking cigars is hard to ignore. I'm a reformed smoker. My kids have asthma. Maybe that makes me more sensitive to it, but we weren't the only people moving our seats to get away from the heavy smoke. We spoke to 2 other couples who were complaining about it. It's just not a smart thing logistically. So in we go. Tonight was Seafood Newburg and Prime Rib. Both these dinners were excellent. I also want to mention that every night the kids had children's menus at their place. They didn't order off of them, my kids are eaters, but they colored and did the little activities inside. This being the last night, we gave our servers there own tips. It awkward because you're not sure when to do it. I guess the right time may have been at the very end of the meal when they come around with these Carnival place mat things? We also tipped our bar server on the way out. We did tip the maitre'd, but it was really just for form and I felt like we were forced to rather than wanting to based on merit. The kids went to Camp Carnival's Farewell Party. They made T-shirts and got some Carnival merchandise, a backpack, and a CD case. We also tipped the Youth Staff. These girls really made the C

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Feb 21, 2006

Panama Canal

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Legend Cruise Review Panama Canal Dennis and Sharon Party consisted of myself, wife, 9 and 13 year old daughters. Previous cruises include NCI Norway, Carnival Imagination (both adults only) and last 3 years with daughters on Carnival Spirit twice, and Royal Caribbean Splendor of the Seas. This was the 4th cruise we booked through vacationstogo.com, and have had nothing but positive results with them.

Originally was going to pass on getting trip insurance, but after the storm a few weeks before where several NE airports were shut down for up to 3 days, discretion became the better part of valor. I used insuremytrip.com which compares costs and features from multiple insurance providers. One of the big advantages is coverage of emergency medical evacuations which I read can run to tens of thousands of dollars and may not be covered by HMOs when outside the U.S. Worth looking into and not that expensive. We flew from Rochester, NY to Fort Lauderdale on AirTran the day before. The flight was full - somewhat surprising on a Monday - but one of the few non-stops available from Rochester. We had reservations at the Ramada Cruise Port which included a free shuttle. You have to get your luggage - long wait - before they will dispatch the van. It didn't take too long to arrive but made a couple of other stops which resulted in everyone sitting shoulder to shoulder to the hotel. The Ramada was a two-story hotel with no elevators which was a challenge with the amount of luggage we had. We had dinner at the bar that night and the buffet breakfast the next day. It was obvious they were severely under-staffed and the service suffered accordingly. The pool was nice and we took advantage of that. Weather was sunny and in the 80s. We decided to forego the free 1:00 shuttle to the cruise port - which looked like it was again going to be packed - and instead paid for a taxi around noon for $14 plus tip. Next trip I'll just look for the best hotel option and plan on taking taxis. Embarkation: As we arrived a bit early, there were short lines at the cruise port, but we did have to wait a short while to board and then get to our cabin. As we had done the online pre-registration it was pretty painless. Both Fort Lauderdale and Tampa are much less hectic than Miami. Lifeboat Drill - Typical operation. While I recognize they have to do something along these lines, I've always had significant doubts that in a real emergency passengers will docilely line up shoulder to shoulder and wait in neat lines by their assigned life boats. A necessary evil I guess. Previous Legend reviews I had read frequently mentioned the prevalence of "Urns" in the décor theme. But even after having read these, I never noticed them until I overheard someone pointing them out from an atrium elevator. Of course, according to my wife, my fashion-sense gene has been in deep remission my whole life. To be honest, the décor in any cruise ship I've been on recently simply reinforces the stereotype of those individuals involved in the interior decorating industry. NTTAWWT. I would have to agree with those that mentioned that the hallway carpeting on the cabin decks could use some refreshing, but other than that the ship appeared to be well maintained with the usual amount of constant cleaning - typically in the off hours. From some discussions with the crew and my own observations, the ship appeared to be only about 80% booked. Most of the passengers appeared to be on the older side: 40s - 60s , with not that many children on board. Somewhat surprising as most of the time was over February recess. I'd guess it was a result of it being an 8-night cruise and the port locations - which were not the typical beach and party destinations. Most of the passengers seemed to be experienced cruisers. The 3 pools and hot tubs (one adult) were only crowded periodically. More important in my mind for Carnival to refresh over the hallway carpets are the chaise lounges. On every other one the mechanism to raise the back falls apart, although they can usually be re-assembled; this has been a problem with each of the three Carnival cruises we have taken. Even when they work, they don't lie anywhere near flat and several were discolored and/or studded with gum residue. On the plus side, we never had difficulty finding a few available, and chair hogs seemed less prevalent than usual. Clothes pins and those little black binder clips came in handy to keep towels in place. We had been on 2 cruises previously on the Spirit which is a sister ship to the Legend. I must say we had never felt the rocking we did on the Legend. It was particularly pronounced in the front of the ship. The waves did get a bit rough, but not exceedingly so. The discomfort wasn't extreme, more of a mild queasiness that a Dramamine tab would relieve. It was definitely more noticeable at night and may have been partially a result of the speed needed to maintain the itinerary. Our room was right off the atrium elevators just aft of mid-ship which put us in easy distance of most attractions. There was never a problem with elevator availability. The water slide was a major disappointment. On the Spirit, the speed was fast and somewhat exhilarating even though it was a short ride. On the Legend it was a very slow descent, to the point where I stopped dead a few times if in a sitting position. Reading some message boards since returning, it sounds like there were some issues with slides on some other Spirit Class ships that have a slightly different design. I can only surmise that in our litigatious society, Carnival's Legal department decreed that the others be slowed to the point of irrelevance to avoid potential injuries. Sad times. The library, located in the same space as the internet café, was only open a couple of hours per day, so I never utilized it. I bought several books from a local used bookstore before we left, and acquired a few new ones at the airport shops. I managed to complete 6 books on the flights and on the ship, which those with children will recognize as a gauge on how relaxing the trip was. As usual for those books I didn't think I'd read again, I would just leave them out in a common areas with a note that they were free to a good home. They all seemed to disappear pretty quickly. Room: Carnival does a good job with the space available. We were able to find enough storage space for all of us (four large suitcases, a suit carrier, and 4 carry-ons). All the empty suitcases fit under the bed. My wife and I could definitely feel the crease where the 2 beds had been pushed together but otherwise the mattresses were ok and there were enough pillows. Our two daughters took turns on the fold-out couch and the third bed that pulled down from the ceiling. We did find a pair of kid's underwear on the balcony, the second time in the last few years we have found an "intimate" item in the room from the previous residents. However as we did come aboard early, and knowing the limited time available to the staff between one cruise and the next, we didn't make an issue of it. The room steward was very personable and helpful without being intrusive. The bathroom had ample rimmed shelf space and the water pressure was strong. Definitely recommend the balcony room. We used the rope we brought along to keep the spring-loaded French door open at times - just had to be careful when opening the door into the hallway as the air flowing through the room would be quite strong and scatter any loose papers. I liked having a light on the balcony as I would sometimes use it to read late at night without disturbing anyone in the room and the balcony was quite private. The ice bucket that comes with the room is pretty small and as I drink a lot of ice water, I asked our room steward to bring another one. He brought a plastic one which was standard size, would refill both, but usually not until after the other maintenance activities were done. We had one problem with the card-operated in-room safe when I went to lock it and didn't hold the door closed. The locking tongue then protruded with the door open and wouldn't retract. We had to have a technician come to the room to fix it. The wait was pretty short. He emphasized the recommendation on the safe to use a credit card, not the sail and sign room card. I'm not sure why, as it just requires you to carry two cards around instead of one, and chances are if you lose one you'll probably lose both. So in my mind it just increases your loss exposure as opposed to decreasing it. Later in the week we had a problem where none of our cards would unlock the cabin door. We went to the purser's desk and got new cards that still didn't work. Back to the purser's desk, who paged a technician to meet us at the room. He couldn't get the door open either and had to page another technician who came and replaced the lock. By this point we had missed the early seating dinner as we had not been able to change out of our bathing suits. We called the purser after getting into the room and they were not helpful at all. They said we would have to see the headwaiter at the late seating and "try" to get a table, this on a sailing only about 80% full. When I suggested they maybe comp us at the premium restaurant as it was not our fault the lock malfunctioned, they responded as if I had asked to sleep with the captain's wife. Needless to say we were not happy and let them know it. At that point we were just hungry - especially our daughters - and aggravated - especially me, so just ate at the Lido buffet. The next day the purser's desk delivered a complimentary bottle of champagne to our room which did partially mollify us. But our experience does seem to mirror others I have read about that point to the Purser personnel being the least helpful and friendly of the ship staff. I didn't like that the tips are pre-billed and that you now have to go to the purser's desk and adjust them there instead of just getting a form ahead of time. There's enough to deal with on the last couple of days without having to wait in line at the desk. Food: Most days, my wife and I only had breakfast and dinner. Our daughters did indulge in a few lunches also, usually burger based which looked to be pretty good. There did seem to be a good variety of buffet offerings for lunch. I usually went to the buffet breakfast with one daughter while my wife and other daughter would had the continental room service. The buffet breakfast was just so-so in my opinion. The entrees tended to be a bit on the greasy side, although there were plenty of healthful options such as fruit and cereal as well. Did not try the dining room breakfast. The room service, while limited to continental offerings, was ok and pretty timely. Note that this is about the only service where there is not an automatic gratuity provided so you need to tip the delivery person directly if desired. Other than two nights we ate in the dining room; we missed the "door problem" night and skipped one of the two formal nights (two too many in my minority opinion). The food was good overall. The portions were on the usual small side, but that was fine as I usually try to combine 2 entrees into a surf and turf offering. The quality of the fish offerings seemed to be more consistent than that of the beef ones. One thing I missed from Royal Caribbean was the option to have the two entrees on one plate with just one set of sides. Everything was certainly acceptable. The servers were friendly, but seemed somewhat inexperienced. Refills of the water glasses, and offers of ground pepper or grated cheese on the salads were intermittent. The two buffet dinners we ate in the Lido were nothing special. I was disappointed in the limited selection. The pizza - available 24 hours - was good with a number of different types available. The kids also enjoyed the 24 hr availability of ice cream and frozen yogurt. There are also "ala carte" offerings of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, pastries and specialty coffees, available for a price. Didn't try any of these. We purchased soda cards for the kids. They weren't a huge bargain, but definitely saved some money. Sea Days: Sea day 1 - Wed. out of FLL - Very nice, sunny and warm Sea day 2 - Thurs some rain in the AM, then nice sun Sea day 3 Sun. and Sea day 4 Tues. - Mix of sun and clouds, passing sprinkles. As noted above, we were always able to find chaise lounges, at least away from the pools. We had given permission for our 9-year old to sign herself in and out of the kid's camp so both daughters had that ability. They both also made friends even though as I mentioned the number of kids on board seemed to be relatively small. In addition to the camp itself, which runs 9AM to 10PM except meal time breaks, there were numerous other activities - scavenger hunts, talent contests, disco nights, etc. - that they both got involved in. Carnival's program for kids is great, and one of the main reasons we pick this option for vacations. We also took advantage of the babysitting service offered until 3AM. I believe it was $6/hr for one child, and $10/hr for two. Hard to beat that. Ports/Excursions: General: We usually like to go off on our own and find beaches we can snorkel from. My research indicated these were not easy locations to do that from, particularly considering the relatively short times in port. On the plus side, we usually got back to the ship in time to be able to relax on board for a little while and not have to rush off to dinner. I also prefer to avoid tendering whenever possible, which we were able to do on 2 of the 3 ports. My personal guidelines on hiring your own driver to take you around, which we did at two of these stops as well as on other cruises: If the location is at all questionable in terms of safety, ask the driver for ID and call your own or some one else's voice mail and leave the name. Or at least pretend to do so. See the vehicle first, try to determine the air conditioning capability. Particularly as this was rain forest territory, you don't want to be crammed into a car with no a/c and have to roll the windows up. Trust me. In addition to the negotiated rate, ask if a tip is expected, and if the rate depends on whether you take part in any of the activities at planned stops, such as canal cruises, ziplining, etc. It's pretty obvious the drivers get a kickback from some of these places and bake that into their negotiated fees. Also ask if "donations" are expected at any of the planned stops. I always negotiate from the initial offer, but find it difficult to drive too hard of a bargain just knowing what the living conditions can be in some of these countries. Having said all that, this is usually a very cost-effective option, and most guides/drivers will provide a wealth of information on local practices, culture, etc. and will be very flexible. Colon, Panama (7AM - 5PM) Ship docked at the cruise port. Rained early morning, after which we went ashore and hired a driver with an interpreter with a nice van.. Most of the ship excursions in Panama are expensive. I didn't think seeing the canal operations would be that interesting (have seen the lock operations on local canals as well as on the St. Lawrence Seaway). However, after the driver took us to the Gatun lock on the Panama canal, I must say I was very impressed. Particularly when you consider that almost all of the original design dates back to a hundred years ago, and is still utilized today, it's a tremendous engineering and human effort. Well worth the visit. Also stopped at a small private zoo with local animals which was nothing special, and then did some general sightseeing in town. Spent some time in the shopping area within the port as well at the one just outside. Inside the port, there was a shop on the upper level with $4 tee-shirts. Obviously not the highest quality, but not a bad deal for some cheap souvenirs and/or gifts for kids' friends. There was a grocery store just outside the gate from the port (to the right I believe) that had a wide selection of items at reasonable prices. Liquor prices both inside and outside the port area were very reasonable. Puerto Limon, Costa Rica (7-3) Again, the morning was a bit rainy, so we had a leisurely breakfast and then went out to the port area. There is a kind of flea market area just off the ship, with souvenirs, local offerings etc. We then out of the gated area and talked to a number of drivers before selecting one - mostly on gut feel. He had a small 4-door car with a/c. We took a short drive through the city and immediate area outside, than stopped for a short time at Playa Bonita Beach. This is a small scenic beach, popular with the locals that has a refreshment/ bar stand. The surf was extremely rough, and it seemed to be mostly surfers in the water. Appeared to be a nice spot to spend a half day, particularly if the surf were just a little calmer. Stopped at the Tortuguero Canal to check it out. Looked like it would be an interesting boat trip, but as we had limited time, decided against trying it. Next stop was a private zoo, dedicated to rehabilitating injured and orphaned animals, usually brought in by forest rangers. We were guided by the son of the woman that runs the place. He had just returned home after getting a medical degree in the U.S. He did a great job, and we spent a lot of time here. We had the opportunity to feed and/or hold a number of birds, monkeys, etc. Our daughters greatly enjoyed holding one of the baby monkeys. It was obvious these people cared deeply about their animals, and whenever possible, tried to get them to the point where they could be released back to the wild. We were also provided with a variety of fruit from the trees on their property and it was delicious. Our guide picked small bananas right off the tree, and they were the sweetest we had ever tasted. They also brought out a platter of mango, pineapple, and other fruits that were delicious. We tried some coconut meat and milk also but didn't care for it. After getting back to the port area, we did some shopping in the general area. We did get approached by some very young kids who were begging for money, and were very hard to resist, and we didn't for the most part. Our overall impression of Costa Rica was very positive. A beautiful country, friendly people and lots to do and see. Would definitely like to come back at some point and spend more time there. Belize (7-4) We had been to Belize on our last cruise, and knew that the ship had to anchor quite a ways from shore, and that those on ship excursions received priority on the morning tenders. So between the long tender rides to shore and the limited time in port, I overcame my usual resistance to booking an excursion through the ship, and had signed up online for the 3 1/2 hour Goff's Caye Snorkeling excursion. Departure times of 7:30 and 11:30 were offered and we had chosen the later one figuring it would be less crowded (and more importantly, allow us to sleep in!). I was up early enough to take a ride onto shore just to look around. It was a bit rainy - again ? - and even an little on the cool side. After a short time in the immediate port area, I returned to the ship. The seas were a little rough both ways. As we were re-boarding, there was an announcement that due to the waves, anyone who had booked a snorkeling excursion had the option of canceling and receiving a full refund. We waited a bit to see if things improved any, and when they hadn't I went to the purser's desk and turned our tickets in. My wife and I may have thought about trying it if we had been on our own, but really didn't want to spend 3 hours listening to our kids whine if it was really that bad. Shortly afterward, they announced all the water excursions were canceled anyway. We were extremely disappointed as this would have been our only beach and snorkeling time, and I had brought my own equipment along, including fins. Oh well, can't control Mother Nature. We all went on shore together for some souvenir shopping. We stayed within the immediate port area as it can be pretty grim outside of it, and the vendors, guides etc. can be pretty aggressive. On the tender back to the ship, a few of us decided to sit in the open back row, even though the crew warned us we'd get sprayed. Did we ever! I was absolutely soaked. But it seemed like it would be the only excitement of the day, and both my daughters found it rather amusing. Entertainment: Sorry I cannot provide a lot of information here, as our entertainment of choice was the casino just about every night. Their was a good variety of table games including: standard Blackjack, several "novelty" blackjack variations, e.g. face-up, Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride, 3 Card Poker, Craps and Roulette. There was also two Texas Hold'em tables with usually at least one game going on. I stuck to Blackjack, never had trouble finding a seat, and the stakes were usually $5, which is becoming pretty rare in land-based casinos. I broke even for the week and put in quite a few hours. The dealers were as a rule friendly and helpful. The layout seemed to work, and there was one-man-band entertainment each night. The one musician was quite good, playing Elvis and other early Rock standards, and usually got the crowd into it which doesn't happen too often when people are gambling. My wife generally played the slots and thought there was a good variety and availability, but the payouts weren't very good, at least for her. Bar service was good. Didn't attend any shows or presentations, except for the debarkation talk. My daughters attended a couple of the song and dance style shows and enjoyed them. (Did I mention how nice it is that the kids can go off on their own? Did I mention that?) Didn't overhear any strong comments plus or minus on other shows. I found the cruise director kind of annoying just based on his announcements. Of course many of them are pitches to spend more money. Debarkation: Against all advice, we had booked a flight leaving at 10:50 the day of return, as all the other options got us back home very late at night. Those of you with kids will recognize that is not a fun time with children who have been up since early morning. There are not generally a lot of options into or out of Rochester. As the early flight was also non-stop, we decided to take a chance and if need be, pay the change fee for a later flight. As it was a weekday, we figured we'd be able to find a later flight if needed. We therefore used the self-assist option to get off the ship. This involves carrying all your own luggage off the ship and through customs, beginning at 7:30 AM. We had not tried this option before, which I believe is a relatively new one, and the reason I attended the debarkation briefing. The cruise director had recommended waiting about 15 minutes after it started for the crowds to die down and you would "walk right off the ship". WRONG. The line was still incredible long, probably 3/4 of the length of the ship. It took forever just to find the end of the line. We could just barely manage the amount of luggage we had, especially on the stairs etc. I would definitely not recommend this option unless it's absolutely needed. The line moved through customs pretty well considering the number of people. We grabbed a porter as soon as we were through, and he took us right to a cab. We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. The flight was full but uneventful. Summary: Overall had a good time, liked the ship and Carnival is a great option for those with children. (Did I mention how nice it is that the kids can go off on their own? Did I mention that?) Service mostly was great, and food good. Weather could have been a little drier, and the itinerary is not the usual beach oriented one. Would have liked more time in port, but the extra sea day on the 8 night cruise is nice. Speed up the Slide!

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Dec 11, 2005

Southern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Legend Cruise Line 7 Day Southern Carribean Jennifer We sailed out of Port Everglades on Sunday the 11th of December for our 8 day cruise to Saint Martin, Barbados and Martinique. When booking the cruise my husband and I worried that 4 sea days and only 3 ports would leave us feeling trapped on a ship. Our fears were exemplified because we had never been on a Carnival Cruise and had read some negative

reviews about the ship. Needless to say this is why I am taking the time to write this review, which in summary is positive. I will start with the embarkation as most of these reviews do. It was not difficult, we did the online boarding pass and it took a little less than an hour but we heard others on the ship say that they got through much faster. It is not the miserable process that people make it out to be on these message boards. We got to the terminal at about 1pm and the line was at the end of the terminal building… but again, we were done in under an hour. Just for laughs: There is a sign at the terminal that says "tipping is not required for the baggage porters." We planned on tipping but I was surprised when the baggage porter put my bags down in front of the luggage bin and stared at me. Almost like, “pay me or your bags won’t make it onto the ship.” I wanted to mention that we chose to park our car off site for about $50 total for the eight days. The place we used is called Quality Car and Van Rental. It was hard to find and a little scary to us. You park your car in the front give them your keys and they vow to move your car back to the gated area where it is secure later in the day. They drop you off at the terminal and you call them to come pick you up. When we returned our car was waiting for us in the same condition we left it. In the end I would recommend them. Unicorn Café (Buffet Style Dining Hall) I will go ahead and get one of my complaints out of the way. The flow of this space was very poor. It may be a personal choice thing, but there was a pool in front of and behind the Unicorn, so in addition to the regular dining crowd there were people trying to walk through a poorly laid out dining area in their swimsuits. I do not consider myself to be sheltered or old fashioned but I don’t care to see people in nothing but a Speedo when I am biting into a hot pressed deli sandwich. That brings me back to some of the positive features. They have a deli that will press any combination of sandwich goodies you want. In addition to this “station” there is a rotisserie that changes slightly each day and a two featured cuisine stations that change from day to day. The coffee here was not that great, I dealt with it but there is a coffee bar where you can purchase a specialty coffee drink if you must. The food was all very good in the Unicorn, naturally there were some things that I didn’t try or didn’t like but there were also items that I liked very much. You have to try the dijon potato salad. Yum. Truffles (Main Dining Hall) We were fortunate to have wonderful dinner mates. We sat at a six top with two other couples, very close in age to ourselves. There was a great selection each night, so many great choices that we found ourselves ordering as a table so that everything could be tried. When that doesn’t work, heck just order two! We came home and ordered crab cakes at Carrabas and felt disappointed. The crab cakes on the ship were wonderful. I would not recommend the Strawberry Bisque and be cautious with the red meat if you consider yourself a connoisseur. Some nights it was a little tough. The other soups were wonderful and the desserts were all very good. Activities We used the gym each day and found the equipment to be maintained well. The windows that overlook the water are too low to really see out of when you are doing cardio; this was disappointing on the mornings that we were coming into port. The locker rooms have private shower stalls in them that I highly recommend… There are 5 shower heads (1 from the ceiling, 2 each side) with amazing shower pressure. The shows got better each night and the comedians were all very good. There are not a ton of self directed activities on the ship and limited hours on those that are available. I enjoyed playing pool, a game of checkers, watching a movie in a mini theatre with a big screen and climbing a rock wall on our last cruise. At Carnivals defense, they have some sort of game, lesson or activity at every minute of the day. The newly wed game was a blast, karaoke was entertaining and the hairy chest contest… well I still think the guy that did the pole dance should have won. The Ship The urns are not scary or hideous… I would not have put them in my house but they were appropriate for this ship. THE SHIP WAS IMMACULATE! I can not stress this enough. I made a point to look in the kitchen of the Unicorn when the door swung open and paid attention to the displays around the ship. I was very impressed with what I saw. Everything was kept clean. We had a balcony room and it was sparkling clean every time we came back to it. The only thing that was not clean, understandably, was the balcony glass on the outside. We did not have any issues with rocky seas during our cruise. The only complaint, the layout was a little confusing, half way through the cruise we were still using signs to get around. I am name dropping in this next part because we had very good experiences on the islands with these companies. Saint Martin We rented a car from Franklin with Maynard Car Rental (542-2598). The island is only 30 something miles all the way around… grab a map and hit the road. Orient beach was beautiful, travel up through the pastel resort buildings and get some pictures of the bougainvillea framing the beaches. We traveled to the Friars Bay area, stopping at little shops on the way and taking pictures. We ended up at Gutside Bar and Restaurant on Cripple Gate. Richard Brooks is the owner/ chef/ DJ/ Musical Artist and Guavaberry rum maker atleast we think that is what we drank. We danced on the patio, took pictures and had some of the best food we have ever tasted. Marigot (French capitol) was very pretty and there are plenty of places to shop for specialty items. Last but not least, we went to Caribbean Liquors and Tobacco on Buncamper Road 8 in Philipsburg. This was recommended to us and we were thankful. Plenty of selection and great prices. Barbados We met Curtis Walker of Curtis Taxi Service right outside the terminal. These people usually scare me, but Curtis was great. He drives a white Mercedes van. Cell (246) 239- 9623. He took us to Folkstone where we rented snorkel gear and milled around the beach for a while. The snorkeling here was average. There are showers, restrooms and a snack bar on site. He picked us up from there and gave us a tour around the island. We bargained for our rate and were very happy with the outcome, it was more than we could have expected (price will depend on the number in your party, time of day and year). We went to Cherry Tree Hill and Bathsheba getting history all along the way. The island is very interesting and beautiful. He dropped us off downtown around 6 pm. We were surprised to find a lack of local restaurants in downtown Bridgetown that were open. There were some fast food like places, but not much else. The only other thing that I can say is be careful at night. Our group on this island was three girls and my husband. We were thankful to have him there, some areas were intimidating and it was not clearly signed to get back to the cruise terminal. Martinique The day in Martinique was from 7-2. With limited time we headed out on foot for downtown Fort de France. There is a blue sidewalk that you follow. We used the ferry to go over to Pointe du Bout. The ferry system is a little unclear. There isn’t really a ticket counter. Anyway we paid six dollars each roundtrip. Be prepared to use euros in Martinique. It is really easy, go to an ATM take out whatever amount and it is converted on your bank statement. There is a little square at the resort here with a fragrance shop. We bought the most amazing aloe lotion here… Like icy hot and aloe combined. The other recommendation is ice cream. On our way back to the ship there was a little ice cream shop across the street from the blue side walk when you first start back… Anyway it was very good ice cream and inexpensive to Marble Slab/ Cold Stone standards. Most people speak french on the island so figure out how to say a few key phrases before you go. Diembark We carried off our own luggage. 8am we were off the ship, 8:25 we were done with customs and outside the terminal calling our shuttle. All in all, the cruise was relaxing and a lot of fun. We do not have any major complaints and are looking forward to planning our next cruise. I hope this review helped.

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Dec 11, 2005

Southern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Legend Cruise Review 7 Day Southern Caribbean Val Karnilowicz (Wicks) This was my first cruise with Carnival on the Legend. My companion had never cruised before and I decided this would be a perfect introduction to a wonderful holiday. On arrival to the port approximately 1:00 pm - I found the line up extremely long - I would suggest checking in later. My first impression of the ship was that it was

a little "garish" - mainly the atrium. We explored the ship and we were very impressed with the layout - very clean and easy to get around. We had an aft cabin with a balcony loved the location and enjoyed seeing the sunset every evening. The staff was extremely polite - especially in the dining room-we made sure to tip them extra. The food and service were more than I expected. We shopped on board - bought each other our Christmas gifts. Duty free shopping on board was fabulous - we bought a watch which was double the price back home. We went to the wine tasting and ate at the fine dining restaurant that had the $30. each surcharge. I would highly recommend the restaurant for a special occasion. The ports were wonderful - St Maarten, Barbados & Martinique. We enjoyed the beaches in St Maarten & Barbados as well as an independent tour of the islands. In Martinique we shopped and walked around - In summary the cruise was more than we expected - very well organized - food was plentiful - loved the deli and the delicious pizza station. We never felt rushed or crowded. The only complaint which was minor -was that the entertainment could have been better - most nights we opted to go to Billy's Bar or Satchmo's - which always had terrific entertainment. The mix of different age groups blended extremely well and we truly enjoyed ourselves and will definitely travel with Carnival again.

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Oct 25, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

Carnival Legend 7 Day Eastern Caribbean Tamara This was well worth the wait... first off my husband and I got stuck in Hurricane Wilma as did alot of people that week in October. We left the Port of Miami with a smooth debarktation. I must say that this being my first cruise I did not know what to expect, but after a hurricane how could things get any worst? We were just happy to get someplace with electricity and running water,

Ft. Lauderdale Wyndham was without since hurricane. I was pleasantly surprised with the service and decor on the Legend, I really don't know where people come up with these bad reviews, but I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion. Service was excellent all around. All ports of call were exciting and fun. I would definitely go with Carnival again.

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Jul 15, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

Carnival Legend 7 Day Eastern Caribbean Kathleen Vega I have sailed with Carnival before, but never from New York. It was smooth sailing all the way. The food was excellent and the staff in the dining room were great. Table 145 Albert, Natalie, and Liz, very friendly. Three things that need improvement. The teenage that walk around the ship all night long

causing trouble (something has to be done about that) The floor by the swimming pool, very slippery when wet. I saw so many people fall when the floor was wet, my 3 year old son included. The dealers in the casino can be more friendly. Other that that we had a great time. We traveled with 89 people from Brooklyn and I think everyone has the same review as I did.

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Jul 7, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

A group of us just returned today from the Carnival Legend 8 day cruise that left out of NY. I have been on several cruises but what happened on Wednesday, July 13th , 2005 at approximately 5:10 P.M. was the scariest thing I have ever experienced. We had left Tortola 3 hours earlier and were cruising back to NY when all of a sudden the ship went out of

control. It suddenly veered to the right which caused the ship to tilt to the other side. It actually appeared for a few seconds as it tilted down lower and lower to the ocean that it was not going to come back up and it appeared that it was going to capsize. As this happened, dishes, bottles and glasses started crashing down all around. People were screaming, crying and running in a panic. The 3 pools on the lido deck (where I was at the time this happened) emptied out and flooded the deck. People were falling down and vomit was everywhere. My friend was on deck 2 at the time and said the ocean water was covering the windows on the side that tilted. One announcement was made a few minutes later which said for all crew to report to deck 2 but we were not told what was happening until approximately 20 minutes later. The captain came over the speaker and said (although it sounded like he was reading from a script) that there was a computer glitch that caused that to happen and that the problem appeared to be taken care of. Needless to say, I nor my fellow cruise mates rested comfortably for the remainder of the cruise. Actually, for the first time in my life I could not wait for a cruise to end. Other than that… the food was bad, the cruise director was horrible (you rarely ever heard from him as to the daily activities) and the captain really seemed a bit snooty. On the plus side, the ship was kept clean, the room steward and bartenders (most of them anyway) were very good. Not that it would have mattered if the ship had capsized, but I do recommend you pay attention to the mandatory lifeboat drills and make arrangements to meet your family in case of a similar occurrence, as it was scary not knowing if the rest of my family and friends were OK.

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Jul 7, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

I recently took a cruise to San Juan, St. Thomas, and Tortola. It was an 8 day cruise leaving from NY on the Carnival Legend Cruise Ship. The Ship tipped to the side after leaving Tortola on Wednesday the 13th. We were heading back to NY. The ship was sailing by computer at the time and the Captain Claudio Cupisti claimed there was a "Glitch" in the

computer system, then they said a fuse blew out and caused the ship to tip. People were injured, one man collapsed, and many things were broken at the bars and dinning halls. A couch flew from the 3rd floor down the open foyer to the 2nd floor. I was grabbing on for dear life on the banister of the 3rd floor. People on the top deck were sliding to one side. The pools were emptied as the water drained out of the pool by the tip. This was my first time on a cruise and I never expected this to happen. People were walking around with life jackets on for the rest of the night. The ship tilted so much that all we saw through the windows was the sky. People claimed that all they saw through their cabin windows on the 1st and 2nd floor was the water. It was the scariest thing I've ever experienced! It will be a very long time before I get on another cruise ship, but I can assure you it won't be with Carnival or Captain Cupisti!

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Jun 29, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

We left New York on June 30, 2005 and this cruise was so much fun. We went to San Juan, St. Thomas, and Tortola. It was an 8 day cruise. The Carnival Legend is a awesome ship to sail on. San Juan is just a city. It is boring for kids. St. Thomas is a beautiful island. You could see Tortola from here. I think Tortola is the best because we went on

the Dolphin Encounter excursion. That was so fun. This cruise was so fun. You should go on this cruise ship.  

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May 12, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

Kelli Celentano We decided to take a honeymoon cruise aboard the Carnival Legend. Before we did so we read review after review and most of them were not so nice so I wanted to write what I thought about the ship. Embarkation was a breeze. We got there very early and were the first people to get on board. Take advantage of the fun pass and register

online. When we got on board they told us to go to the Unicorn Cafe because our room was not ready yet. We got on the elevator to go to lunch but couldn't wait to see our room so we got off our floor and proceeded there. Our room was very nice. We had huge balcony and our room was very spacious and we had a nice size bathroom and a whirlpool tub. We then left and went to the Unciorn Cafe. I cannot say one negative thing about it. The food is very good and its beautiful. There is silverware and linens on every table all ours of the day. The deserts are a treat too. When we arrived, we had an invitation to the Supper Club for our honeymoon. You do have to pay for that restaurant. Its $30pp but it is well worth it. It was an experience of a lifetime. The service is unbelievable. Your silverware is changed with every course and given to you off silver platters. It is definitely a must see. We took the late seating in the main dining room, Truffles. That too is a really nice restaurant and the food is really good. The Gala Buffet is a sight to see as well. The entertainment was ok. We saw a few nice shows. The activities on board though are very juvenile but we did get a few laughs watching them. The Carnival Staff is incredible. The waiters, cabin stewards, bar tenders are very friendly and make your stay enjoyable. Edwin is awesome. And the towel animals are the best. You will take pictures of every one. One thing I do want to say is that people told me before cruising that I wouldn't feel the boat and you do feel it. I did not get sick but it was definitely rocking. We did encounter some bad weather. Now I'd like to tell you some things that I did not like about our cruise. Although I like leaving out of New York to avoid flying, I felt we were at sea way too long and would opt to fly next time. I did not particularly like the decor aboard the legend. It is very gaudy but the staircases are beautiful. The ports of call were nice. We did not however like San Juan. We opted not to take any shore excursion there. We just walked around and found it dirty and not appealing. It was also pouring out so we just headed back on board. We did take two other excursions and now I will have to tell you some negative things. The cruise director, who is very comical, tells you about the excursions but doesn't give you nearly enough information. We took one to St. John Trunk Bay. It was unbelievable but we didn't get to be there long. It took an hour and a half to get there and an hour and a half to get back so we were only on the island for an hour and its supposed to be a four hour excursion. The other excursion we took was to Virgin Gorda and island off Tortola. I will first tell you that it is an amazaing sight and I am very happy I got to see it but all they told us about this tour was that you took a boat to the island and a bus to the top of the baths and then you enter this beautiful beach with rock formations that make their own pools. When we arrived at the top of this mountain a tour guide got our attention and gave us some information. She told us that there were three beaches. You had to walk down this rocky trail to get to the first beach and then to get the second one she told us we had to be physically fit and explained that that meant able to bend. We have no problem bending so we decided to go for it. To get to the first beach you have to go down this rocky trail which is 360 yards away. That wasn't too bad, but to get to the second beach, which is supposed to be the best one, we had to travel through caves and climb boulders using tree branches that are not stable. Mind you no one tells you this so we were in beach attire and flip-flops. Once we got there it was amazing but I would consider it very dangerous and more information should be given. As far as our shipmates go, most people were very friendly. We were however on board with a lot of seniors and there were the few that were not very polite. If you are a younger group I would ask your travel agent to check the ages that will be traveling aboard with you. Leaving the ship was a breeze. We put our luggage out the night before, went to the Unicorn Cafe and waited for them to call the color of our tags and we were off fairly quickly. Overall I would say we had a great time. I was very happy with the food and the service. I would recommend carnival to my friends but I would like to try another cruise line in the future. Happy sailing to all of you that will be taking this cruise. In my opinion you will enjoy it.

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Apr 26, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

Two couples traveling together The four of us are in our 50’s, have traveled a good deal, are easy-going, and love to laugh. We judge cuisine by taste and presentation and not by the weight of the plate. We appreciate the long hours and efforts of the crew. This was our first experience with Carnival, having cruised exclusively with NCL (including the Dawn). We booked the Legend because of the itinerary and the convenience of sailing

out of NYC. After reading many of the Legend’s reviews, we had our concerns but proceeded to book the cruise. On 4/26, my husband and I drove from Boston to Spring Valley, NY and met up with our cruise buddies from upstate NY. Enjoyed a great meal at the Red Lobster. Next morning left Spring Valley at 10:30 am and pulled up to the pier at 11:00. Checked the luggage curbside, parked our cars and were on board at 12 noon. Carnival was very organized and had plenty of staff on hand. By registering for our Fun Pass on-line, we saved some time at the pier. Through Cruise Value Center, NJ, we reserved a Cat 8A Guarantee Balcony and received an upgrade to 8I Extended Balcony on Deck 8 (8167). Very happy with Cruise Value! There was never a problem with noise from the Lido Deck, which was only one deck up. Used the stairs and got a little exercise. We were told cabins would not be available until 1 and to go directly to the Unicorn Café for lunch. However, we were anxious to check ours out. It was a lovely, spacious cabin with plenty of shelf/closet space, but do bring extra hangers. Balcony was good sized. Wonderful bathroom. Dropped off our carry-on’s and headed for the Unicorn. Everyone always wants to know about the food, so I’ll address that first – It’s wonderful on the Legend ! Unicorn Café – beautiful, spotless, well laid out. All the tabletops are granite with high back dark wood upholstered chairs. The area is broken up by wooden screens, which give it a cozy feeling. I can’t say enough about this restaurant. No matter what time of the day or night you wander through, it’s clean and shining. No paper napkins – linen and silverware are always in place. Dishes are whisked away quickly. The bus boys/girls do an amazing job. Yes, the breakfast menu (located in about 4 locations are the café) is basically the same every morning. But that means a assortment of rolls, pastry, muffins, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, wide variety of hot and cold cereal, juices, alternating choice of pancakes/waffles/French toast, plus two omelet stations – not shabby folks! And, everything is delicious. Lunch in the Unicorn is incredible. The pizza is excellent; The grill is wonderful. Terrific salad bar, with everything you could possibly want. The Asian selection was wonderful too. There’s even sushi one day. I think you get the picture. Also, the Unicorn has a lovely outdoor area. No paper napkins, plastic knives/forks/spoons, or plastic packets of mustard/ketchup here! Each table (granite again) is set up with linen napkins, silverware, a bottle of ketchup and mustard, salt and pepper shakers. Again, everything is clean and neat. Once the cruise got into warmer weather, we either ate breakfast here or on our balcony. Also, when you order a drink out there it comes in the right type of glass – albeit heavy weight plastic. There’s wine in a wine glass, cocktails in a cocktail glass and beer in a beer glass. No light weight, blow away, one size fits all thing. Truffles (the main dining room) – beautiful, windows all around, spotless. Based on the reviews we read, we anticipated eating dinner in the Unicorn more often than the dining room. Because of the variety of entrees offered, their quality and the presentation, that was not the case. I would like to see what the people who have criticized the food in previous reviews eat at home – or maybe not. Every plate set on the table was pleasing to the eye. Having a plate heaped with food or being offered seconds and thirds does not represent fine dining to us. Everything in Truffles was wonderful. And yes, the flourless chocolate cake is sinful as was the lobster, scallop, shrimp dish served our last night. The wait staff was attentive. Ours did their job well, in a low-key manner, as it should be. Thankfully, they did not try to be entertainers at the table (only after dinner when they all put on a short show). The cocktail waiter, who also took care of us outdoors at the Unicorn, was very attentive and thoughtful. The Ship – It’s beautiful and user-friendly. Even though the Legend is huge, it takes no time to learn how to navigate around. There are plenty of beautiful staircases and elevators with maps of the ship on each level for easy reference. The large spaces are visually broken up to provide a more intimate feeling. We found the décor tasteful in a Disney sort of way. If you want your cruise ship to look like a Hilton or the Sheraton, then I suggest another ship. There is music everywhere on the Legend. Before dinner, we enjoyed having a drink in either the lobby bar or the Atlantis Lounge and listening to a difference performance each evening. Crew – again, wonderful. Our cabin steward took excellent care of us. But, then again, so did everyone. Ports – We enjoyed them all. Booked our tours on-line through Carnival. Our tickets were waiting for us in our cabins the first day. Perfect ! Opted not to take a tour in San Juan. Instead we walked the streets of Old San Juan. Visited one of the forts. Enjoyed the view (and drinks) at the Panorama Bar and Grill at the Hotel Milano. Had a very relaxed afternoon and evening. In St. Thomas we went on the Magens Bay, Paradise Point tour. The drivers like to scare the wits out of the tourist and succeed very well. The beach was beautiful, the views from up in the mountains are breathtaking. In Tortola we took the 4X4 Land Rover tour. Excellent ! Another “scare the wits out of the tourist” experience, but had a great time. More beautiful beaches and views – and a great rum drink. And, the view I will never forget is sitting at back of the ship as it pulled out of Tortola, watching all the lush green islands that make up the BVI and USVI pass by on either side of the ship. Overall – We did witness several passengers who lacked manners/patience and presented challenges to the crew. I’m sure they will be the authors of future negative reviews. As for us, it was the best cruise we’ve been on. The ship and the crew are wonderful. Each of us enjoyed everything about the Legend and Carnival.  

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Apr 26, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

It has been said in past reviews “the ship caters to the masses of unseasoned travelers”; I am 26 and have been to 7 foreign countries. I would consider myself a season traveler, even at a young age. My grandmother worked for the Foreign Service and I have had the luxury of taking my best friend and spending summers overseas. My group consisted of

13 people: me, my husband, my mom, two of my co-workers and their families. Our ages range from 60’s to preteen. I want to say I had a great vacation. Yes there were positives and negatives, but I would recommend this cruise to anyone! We arranged for a charter bus, which departed from Hamburg, PA around 10:45 A.M. We arrived in NYC around 1 P.M. So I have no information about the traffic, parking, or cost. The porter’s cost was $2/per person, not bag. What a deal! Embarkation: I have heard horror storied about embarking in NY. It is an annoying process but not unbearable. First, there is NO place to sit; I don’t think I even saw a chair. The embarkation staff kept handing us paperwork that needed to be filled out before we registered. Make sure you have a pen and a friend or family member’s back to write on! Total process was approximately 45 minuets. Ship and Stateroom: The ship just came off of dry dock and was in wonderful condition. Very clean and fresh! The décor is a bit over the top but who wants something bland? I stare at blah walls everyday at work; it was refreshing to have something to look at. We had an 8A balcony stateroom (4224). What a wonderful room. I read lots of complaints about the orange colored staterooms. Every hotel I have been in was burgundy, brown, pink, or blue. I thought the orange was wonderful, I never felt like I was in a stuffy hotel room. The room fit me, my husband, my mom, all our clothes, luggage and we still had storage room. Kudos to carnival!! The cabin steward (I am so disappointed that I forgot his name) cleared out our refrigerator and we filled it up with our own soda and water. He also brought us a third chair for the balcony. The regular sized balcony was big enough for the small square table and the three chairs. I was in the extended balcony stateroom and a few suites. I do not think the extended balcony would have been worth the extra money. The suites were hit or miss. One suite had a chopped up stateroom but an enormous balcony, the other, had a wonderful stateroom but the same size balcony as an 8A. I would spend the extra money for a triple or quad suite because there seems to be more privacy; however, I would not spend that kind of money for just my husband and me. Dining Options: There are 3: Unicorn café, Truffles, and Golden Fleece. Unicorn café is a buffet. You should expect the same food you are served at any other buffet. The food was always hot for hot and cold for cold. I think they had some of the best pastrami and assorted lunchmeats. I usually ate there for breakfast or lunch. Truffles: We never ate there for breakfast or lunch but never missed a dinner. The food was fantastic but do not get on this ship and expect 5 star cuisines. It just is not going to happen. Desserts were fantastic. I do not understand what all the fuss is over the flourless chocolate cake. Least favorite dessert by far. Very friendly wait staff. I adored our server and assistant. The maitre D needs to do something about the dancing and singing the staff has to do. PLEASE stop making the staff run around. They look foolish. You could see in the embarrassment on the staff’s faces. Though the final song was quite cute. Here is my one and only comparison: I think RCCL used less staff in the dinning room and was more efficient! I barely ever got a refill on my water or iced tea. After being in the sun and saltwater, I need some fresh water! Golden Fleece: Why? The dinning room was fantastic! I wasn’t going to pay $25 for refills on water! I have heard it is worth the $$ but just not for me! Sea Days: I don’t mind kids but they were everywhere. They filled the hot tubs and pools everyday! No biggie! Carnival offers an adult only area with a hot tub and pool. We stayed there most of the time. Swam, ate, and played domino’s. I donated a few bucks to the casino. Slots were fun, no money but lots of play. This was the first cruise the casino had a poker room. I played in the poker room for about 3 hours total and the staff made so many errors; I would have to use my toes to count them all. The staff is clueless about poker room rules and so were the people playing. Very unprofessional! Oh well, nothings perfect! San Juan: Boring Boring Boring! We got off the ship to walk around, got bored, hired a tour guide, drove around new and old San Juan, got bored. I think you get the point! Please remember, this is just my perspective, some people loved it! St. Thomas: Booked privately with Sunny Liston. He was a good tour guide. Went shopping for 3 hours. What a waste. I could have handled an hour and a half. The entire shopping area was jewelry, liquor and cigarettes. I did buy a pretty sapphire and diamond ring. After shopping we toured the island. Went to the mountaintop and had a famous banana daiquiri. The banana daiquiri was pretty good but not worth $8. Finally we spent 2 hours swimming at Sapphire beach. Fantastic! Tortola: I can’t say too much about the island because all we had time for was the dolphin swim. I do not recommend this tour. The staff and dolphins do not perform half the stuff they advertise and the staff is beyond rude. So bad, that Carnival refunded for half the cost. I would elaborate more but I do not want get upset, mad, and ruin this review for the people reading it! Other staff and customer service: I have already told you that my cabin steward and dining room staff was great. So this section is for the rest. The casino staff was adequate. The casino could have gotten a few more bucks out of me is the staff was more informative and friendly. The only major problem I had was when a mistake was made in the poker room and the staff and managers made a poor decision. I play quite a bit of Poker in Atlantic City and what happened on the ship would have never happened in a casino. The photo staff was RUDE, RUDE, RUDE! Room service wasn’t rude but not overly nice. We were hung up on about 7 times and our order was never correct. Purser’s staff was very good! I applaud them. They always had a smile on their face and never once showed their annoyance. There were times I was getting annoyed at people for treating them so harshly but the kept their composure. Overall: If I had to rate this cruise on a scale from 1 to 10. I would rate it an 8. Yes, we had some problems but doesn’t everything? Carnival tried their hardest to correct the negative situations and I hope they work on the photo, room service, and casino staff. I would recommend this ship to anyone! Hope you enjoy my review!

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Feb 23, 2005

Southern Caribbean

My girlfriend and I just returned from a fabulous cruise on the Legend. It was our second cruise on carnival (Triumph 2003) and I have to say it was even better than we imagined. Since we both work in the television industry we can not plan our vacation months in advance. We called our travel agent (cruisetravel) just days before the cruise and they did a

wonderful job. Our trip started in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) were we travelled on Martinair, the second big airliner in our country. We arrived in Miami one day before the cruise and had booked a hotel in Fort Lauderdale called the Sheraton Yankee Clipper Hotel. We would not recommend this hotel to anyone. One of the beds in our room was soaking wet, there was dust everywhere in the bathroom and the air-conditioning made a horrible sound. We were not pleased with the way the front desk handled the problem. Since this is a review of the cruise we will not go in to the details of our stay at this hotel. Embarkation Day After having a great breakfast in the hotel, we spent some time next to pool and walked around the beach for a while. We took a cab from the hotel together with two fellow passengers who came from Canada. The trip was only $5.00 each so that was relatively cheap. We arrived at the port around noon and where shocked by the long line of passengers waiting. The man who took our baggage was very helpful and since we had a 8a guarantee cabin he gave us our cabin number. We joined the other waiting passengers and after the line started to move it went rather quick. We boarded the ship and where amazed by the beauty and elegance of the decorations. It was far more classy than the Triumph. Since we had to wait for a few hours to check our cabin, we toured the ship. We went to the main dining room and checked our seating arrangements. Since we went on a romantic cruise we asked the assistant Maitre D’ for a smaller table. They rearranged us to a intimate table on the balcony and made us extremely happy we enjoyed this the rest of the cruise. After that we had a great lunch on the lido deck and enjoyed the view and the warm temperature. As soon as we could go to our cabin we went down to deck 8 and checked out our balcony stateroom. Cabin We had cabin 8101 and it was great, our room had a great view and we could even see the interior of the bridge from our balcony. The decoration of the cabin was good, it was clean and the use of wood and glass made it also very elegant. The bathroom was well equipped with lots of storage space and a nice shower. It’s a pity carnival uses a blue plastic for the sink this was the only thing that made it look just a little cheap. We used our balcony a lot during sea days to read a book or just to look out over the sea. If your budget allows you to book a balcony stateroom it is really worth the extra money The Ship As said the legend is really an elegant ship and although the exterior looks very star trek the interior is very chic. Carnival used a lot of nice artwork, glass and wood that makes the ship look and feel like a real ship instead of a Las Vegas Hotel. Before taking our cruise on the legend we checked a few reviews on the internet. There were some people complaining about art with nudity. We laughed about those comments because we could not find anything. Maybe because we are young or maybe because we are from the Netherlands we can’t imagine anyone feeling offended by the theme of drawings on the ship. The lobby was nice, the truffles dining room always looked pretty. The only things that caught our attention were the doors to the kitchen always being open and revealing the stainless steel interior with nasty lighting. Also the green lighting in parts of the ship was not very elegant. The theatre was very beautiful and we loved sitting there. Most of the other bars were nice as well and so was Medusa’s Lair the disco. Food We remembered our food on the triumph to be surprisingly good with lots of flavour and incredible variety. On the Legend we were a little disappointed about the quality of the food in the main dining room. Although the plates all looked wonderful the taste was not always as good as the presentation. Pasta overcooked, soup already a little cold, medium steaks were more than well done etc. The desserts also looked great but tasted rather…..uhm….simple. On the other hand the waiting staff was very nice and we met our waiter from our previous cruise on the lido dek. Maria was still as charming and hard working as on our last cruise. According to my girlfriend and me she was the sweetest on the ship. The food in the unicorn café was great especially the Asian section and the pizzeria. They were visited frequently by us. The grill restaurant with French fries always made great tasting burgers and chicken breasts. Days at Sea Although we are young we did not participate in any of the activities. We relaxed in the sun, enjoyed the wonderful and every day surprising lunch in the unicorn café. We read a lot of books and almost always found enough lounge chairs to relax on. On sea days there was a special Sunday ice-cream buffet on the lido deck. Although the ice-cream itself was a little grainy the toppings were great. During the evenings we had a lot of fun at the comedy shows, we looked forward to seeing them every evening there was one. Also our cruise director Brent was very nice. On the ship there were a lot of things to do and the shops also had nice clothing, cigars and other stuff. The only thing that we found rather strange was a Christmas tree still standing in one of the shops. St.Maarten/St.Martin Our favorite port on this cruise and because we are Dutch it was fun to speak in our own language while being so far from home. We took the water taxi to the centre of town where the majority of the shops were. We did some shopping and found great real looking designer bags for a great price. (not that we bought any ofcourse……lol) We took a Dutch speaking cabdriver who showed us around the island and found the French side very beautiful and elegant but the Dutch side more cosy. The rest of the shops had either jewels or electronic equipment. We went to a small beach but returned to the ship a little later to relax there. Barbados We arrived in a industrial part of the port. Almost everything was closed except at the cruise terminal. We did not book a tour through the ship and again hired a cab to show us around. We went to the Barbados caves and were amazed by its beauty. We looked at the luxury part of the island and also had a glimpse of the less fortunate inhabitants. It was a nice trip and we had a lot of fun looking around. Pity almost everything was closed. Martinique A beautiful Island with great nature and parks. We again had the taxi and got to see a lot of the Island. Although we did not like the people a lot the nature was overwhelming. We went to a natural park and had a great time exploring the botanical gardens. Since we speak a little French and brought our Euro’s we had no problem exploring the centre and sightseeing the island. We had a great holiday and would cruise on carnival again. Actually I can’t wait to get back on a ship. If you are looking for a cruise on a fun ship that has a nice and calm atmosphere with extremely nice people we would recommend choosing the legend.

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Feb 23, 2005

Southern Caribbean

Just now getting around to writing my review. First of all, I traveled with my husband, my parents, my sister and her husband and my in-laws. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale a day early (which I definitely recommend, so much less hassle). We stayed at the Comfort Inn Airport/Cruiseport South. The reason we chose this hotel was because of the free shuttle to and from

the airport and cruise port. We only waited about 20 minutes at the airport for them to pick us up and bring us back to the hotel. The hotel was nice and clean and in a decent area with a shopping strip right next door. Everyone was very helpful. They also had a breakfast that was very good with made to order omelets. There was a restaurant near there called Dave & Buster's. I would definitely recommend it. They had pool tables, shuffleboard tables, and a HUGE arcade. Great for all ages. This was a great place to stay before our cruise, I would stay here again without a doubt. Embarkation Day The morning at the hotel, a little confusing, but it shouldn't have been if people could follow directions and use a little common sense. They had and early shuttle and a later shuttle that went to the ship and people showed up for the early one that were actually supposed to be on the later one. It was not the hotel's fault though. After that got all settled, we were off the the ship. Got there at a decent time, but there was already a long line. They had us separated into two lines, one for US citizens and one for non US citizens. That was pointless because we all eventually became one line. After that it went pretty smooth. We were on the ship by 1:00 or so. We could not go right to our cabins yet so we toured the ship. It was very beautiful. I have been on the Elation(2000) and the Victory (2002) both equally as beautiful. I prefer this size of ship over the Victory size, I do not care for all the tiers of lounge chairs. The Legend was full of urns, but it wasn't something you noticed after the first day. We made our way to our cabins on the main deck. We had cabin numbers: 4156,4159,4172, and 4177 all with balconies (cat.8A). Very nicely decorated with plenty of space for all your clothing. Lots of room in the bathroom for toiletries. Did not use the hairdryer, I always take my own high-powered one because I have very thick hair. Suitcases could slide easily under the bed. There are extra blankets in the drawers under the couch if you get cold. If you want to hold the balcony door open just put a rubber doorstop in the hinge side. If you don't have one your room steward will bring you one. (Our room steward must have noticed us using our ice cube tongs to hold it open...oops.) The ship was very easy to navigate. Although I kept getting confused when I walked out of our cabin which way was the dining room and which way was the lounge. I finally figured it out. Days at Sea Had to be up early if you wanted a lounge chair. (After noon or so more opened up though). Lots of activities to do on the ship these days, especially on the Lido deck. There are also things going on in the show lounge. We just relaxed and took in the sunshine since we hadn't seen it in so long. (Coming from Indiana where it's not so nice in Feb.) After some sunbathing we had lunch at one of the many eateries. There was a huge variety of foods to choose from. The burgers and fries were probably my favorite. All the food was delicious. Only one complaint, the ice cream was grainy. Then we enjoyed the hot tubs which were very roomy. Both days at sea were very relaxing. Not a lot of announcing over the PA like our last cruise.   St.Maarten/St.Martin Our favorite port of this cruise. Took the water taxi to the center of town where the majority of the shops were. We did some shopping then rented scooters, which we were told not to do, but did it anyway. Had a blast seeing the island that way. We found out the hard way that we had to wear helmets on the French side. No big deal. Went to the Orient Beach, it was beautiful. There were loads of activities to do there. The water was perfect for swimming. Of course we had to venture to the south end where the nude beach is. We felt a little out of place with our suits on, but no one seemed to notice. I wish we could have had more time on this island, it was very pretty. The people were all very friendly and the majority spoke English. I would definitely cruise to this island again. Barbados Didn't arrive until noon on a Sunday. Most everything was closed except at the cruise terminal. We booked a tour through ATV Quest for a guided four-wheeling expedition. It was $30 cheaper than booking it on the ship. Had a great time, it rained there so we got a little muddy! People once again were very friendly on this island. We were back on the ship by 5 or 5:30 because there was nothing else to do, however, our ship did not leave until 10:00pm. We decided to get a snack and enjoy the hot tubs once again. Would go back to Barbados. On a different day it would probably be fun. Martinique The most picturesque island of them all, but by far the rudest. People did not want to help you at all and they barely spoke English. We walked from the cruise terminal to the water ferry. The ferry then took us to the other side of the island where we went in search of a beach. Found some, but they all said private. We finally found a public beach and felt very out of place there. No one spoke any English at all. It seemed like a local hang out with no tourists. We then went back to the private beach area which belonged to La Kalenda hotel. There we found our fellow cruisers and could enjoy ourselves. The beach was just gorgeous. We had to be back on the ship by 1:30 and thought we had plenty of time until we tried to get the ferry back. The boat that brought us over was now sitting in a dock space getting some engine work done. We asked when the next ferry would be and he told us 10 minutes. When it came, they told us we had the wrong tickets and we could not get on without paying another fee. They told us our ferry would be coming in 10 minutes. This happened four times, our ferry never showed up. We were getting a little worried however since we had to be back on the ship in 30 min. Finally, we told the guy working on our boat that we had to get back to the ship because it was leaving. He begrudgingly took us and about 20 other passengers back after some yelling. We made it back, but I do not recommend the SomaTour Ferry to anyone. They were terrible. Our experience on Martinique was less than desirable. I will never come back here again. Days At Sea Like the first days at sea, enjoyed ourselves and relaxed after that horrendous time in Martinique. Overall we had a good time. The ship itself was outstanding. Although the crowd on this ship seemed older and less active than on our other cruises. I'm not sure why. We still had fun. We will probably try the W. Caribbean next, we have already done the E. Caribbean, it was great! I'm not so sure about the Enchanted Forest on this ship, a little odd. The arcade was not very easy to find at first. The Piano Bar was not the best only because the lady knew none of the songs she tried to sing. The social hosts Yo Richie and Outback Adam were great! They really got people involved. The Cruise Director Brent was okay. We had an outstanding waiter, Vasile, from Romania who went above and beyond our expectations with his jokes and magic tricks. His assistant, Anton, was also superb. Dining was very enjoyable because of them. Desserts were not as good on this ship as on our previous cruises. Other than that we had a wonderful time and it just went way too fast! We will definetly cruise Carnival again, we just love it!!

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Jan 30, 2005

Panama, Costa Rica, Belize

This was our 10th cruise, our first with Carnival. We had read a real mixed bag of reviews, so we approached it with open minds. We are laid-back cruisers, and don't let worn carpets or a nasty purser ruin our vacation. Our last 5 cruises have been with Princess and Celebrity, so we were kind of using them as our benchmark. We picked this sailing

for the itinerary. Because we have limited time, we chose the shortest trip you can get to see the Panama Canal. Also were Costa Rica, Belize, and four lovely at-sea days. EMBARKATION: We arrived about 11:35 a.m. to a crowd, they didn't open the doors until 12 noon, and we were dropping off our bags in our unfinished cabin about 12:50. It was pretty unorganized, but we had read just that, so we were expecting it. The security lines (only 2) were the main bottleneck. THE SHIP As we entered the atrium, we were pretty overwhelmed by the decor. On the Grand and the Constellation the decor was pretty understated. Not here! You get used to it after a few days, but we heard the word "whorehouse" used many times in different people's descriptions. We had an aft-facing cabin, 6262. It was well laid out, the shower was big enough, all in all pretty good. One small thing: take some hangers with you. We're glad we did. We had 2 hanging closets but only about 12 hangers. Did the bungee cord thing to hold the balcony door open at night, and had the pleasant sights and sounds of the wake to lull us to sleep. The layout of the ship was okay but they could have used a few more signs showing foreword and aft. We saw more than a few people going the wrong way, getting all the way to the back of the ship, and turning around. The elevators we plentiful and fast - very high marks here. At 88,000 tons we thought that the Legend was a good size. Big enough, with a bit less walking, compared to the Grand and Constellation. STAFF Almost without exception the staff were great. Smiling and friendly. The CD, Chris Jefferson, was good... very professional and the first one we've had that didn't annoy me. The 2 bartenders in the Odyssey Lounge, Laura and Andrea, were charming! The casino bartender, Muriel, was unbelievable. I'm sure she is the highest revenue producer on the ship. I'd swear she had 8 hands. Always with a smile. FOOD Here's an area we were concerned about, and were pleasantly surprised. The buffet area was a little spread out, so it was best to take a walk and look first, plan your strategy, then grab a tray and go for it. The food was hot, with a pretty good selection. Sometimes, if you walked around too much, it could get a little cold by the time you sat down. Get the cold stuff like salad and drinks first, and the hot stuff last. The serving stations included pizza area, burger bar, salad bar, deli, carver, desserts and the 2 best - the Asian and the Taste of the Nations. The Asian had sushi on the 4 sea-days, and a selection of noodles, rice, various entrees, spring rolls, and soup daily. All pretty good. The taste of the Nations had a different theme every day, such as Italian, French, Mexican, Caribbean, American, and our favorite, the Indian. We eat a lot of Indian food at home, and this was on-par. Quite a pleasant surprise. Disappointing was the fruit selection... no exotics like papaya or mango, and the melon wasn't very ripe. The 24-hour ice cream was a nice touch. All in all, the buffet was as good or better than Princess or Celebrity, because of the many choices. We had a late seating table for 2. The dining room is a bit noisy. Our waiter Orlando and assistant Nu-Made were quite capable. I thought the menu had more depth than Princess or Celebrity. For instance, they had lamb every night, as well as a pasta, chicken, fish, beef, pork and veggie. The shrimp appetizers were a little disappointing as was the bread (Princess bread rules!), but the escargots were quite nice. My wife is a pasta lover and was a bit disappointed. Soups, hot and cold, were very good. Dessert was a little weak. A note about the coffee...it was drinkable. Better than any other boat I've been on. It seemed to be the same wherever you got it (room service, buffet, dining room, etc.). Surpassing our expectations, the presentation of the food was better than Princess or Celebrity, nicely plated with creative garnishes, squirt bottle stuff and confetti. We ate one night in the Golden Fleece Supper Club, for a fee, and it's very much steakhouse style. It was okay, but the staff seemed like they were reading off a script. Next time I think we'll pass. We're not that into huge cuts of meat. The Legends Cafe is the coffee joint, with a lot of choices and some very decadent pastries and sundaes, all at reasonable prices. BARS AND CASINO We enjoyed pre-dinner drinks at the Odyssey Lounge. Very good service. The casino bar was great, and the aft pool bar was understaffed. They could have done better with a drink menu. At the aft pool bar, they only had one copy of it, with "Bar Copy" written on it. It didn't have any descriptions or ingredients listed. What's in a Goombay Smash, anyway? The casino was large, and the slots were not too bad. They got my stake, but it took all week. One night I pulled over 1000 quarters out of a machine, and got a handful of large pay-outs over the week. The tables were well attended. The casino was the late night place to be. They had live music most nights by a keyboard singer guy that played almost anything, including Pink Floyd! I had a scary moment watching a woman who was at least 75 singing along with "The Wall"! A note about smoking: with the exception of the casino, they seemed to do a good job segregating the smokers and the non-s. No smoking around food. If you wanted to smoke, you had several bar choices, and if you wanted smoke-free you had several choices. On deck, port side was non-smoking. Fair enough. The last night of the cruise was the Super Bowl and they had it on the in-room TVs and brought TVs into all the bars so everybody could watch. MUSIC The live music was pretty good, but the recorded stuff was pretty awful. I brought an iPod and speakers for the room. I recommend bringing your own. HOT TUBS One of the things we like about Princess is the 24-hour hot tubs. Not on the Legend. They have one that stays open until midnight, but it was always full. ITINERARY/SHORE EXCURSIONS Two sea-days, Colon, Panama, then Limon, Costa Rica, another sea-day, Belize and the final day at sea. Sometimes they reverse the itinerary. Due to tight port schedules and the nature of the ports we booked 3 shore excursions from Carnival. They were pricey. We were the only cruise ship in port at all 3 stops. I've never seen that before. PANAMA: We took the "Panama Canal Tour". Warning: You go at 7:00 a.m. That's pretty darn early for a vacation day! You get on a bus at the pier and drive about an hour to the Pacific side. Here you board a boat and go through Miraflores locks and the Pedro Miguel locks. You go under the new bridge then through the Galliard Cut and then offload at Gamboa. Back on the bus and a stop at the big damn, then a scenic ride back to the boat. Limited shopping at pier. Definitely a travel milestone I can now check off my list. If you are going to visit the Panama Canal, we highly recommend reading the book "The Path Between The Seas" by David McCullough. It's a big one (800 pages) but it will help you understand the scope of this achievement. COSTA RICA: Again, another 7:00 a.m. roll call. Painful. We took the Rainforest Arial Tramway tour. You get in a comfortable air conditioned motor coach with an informative guide on the microphone and take about a 2 hour ride to the tramway site. You get to see the mountains and volcanoes along the way with commentary. It's a private reserve with trails and a visitor's center. Each tram car has 7 seats, for 3 couples and a guide on each car. It lasts about an hour, and on the way out you travel about 75 feet from the jungle floor, and on the way back you go over the jungle canopy, about 150' up. Very cool. Unfortunately, we saw a lot of flora, but not much fauna. On the way back to the ship, the bus driver pulled over several times to point out sloths on the trees, and to buy finger bananas to pass around to the passengers. Neat experience, glad we did it. BELIZE In Belize you have a pretty long tender ride (4-5 miles?) due to the shallow waters and the barrier reef. Because of the itinerary, there wasn't much opportunity for beach days. We chose the "Thriller Powerboat Ride" to Caye Calker. Caye Calker is a barrier island about 30 miles northeast of Belize City. The good thing was, they pick you up right from the ship, and you don't have to bother with the tenders. It's an offshore racing powerboat, catamaran style, refitted to carry about 48 people. You go about 40 knots, so it takes about 45-50 minutes to get there. It's a cool ride through and past dozens of out islands, reefs and stuff. It's a real hip little island, about 1 mile by 5 miles, with no cars, sand streets, many little restaurants serving Belize cuisine, local beers (Belikan and Lighthouse) and rum drinks with the local over-proof. You get about 3 and half hours here. You can rent a golf-cart and explore, take a dive tour to the reef (about a mile out), rent kayaks or Hobie Cats or just chill on the beach and have some drinks. It was overcast that day, and we were a little bummed, but that night we realized we got a ton of sun because we didn't use any UV protection. When the ship sails out of Belize, make sure you watch from your balcony or on deck. You sail through an amazing group of islands, and the captain really has to do some fancy driving, zigzagging around them. PAX I think this is the biggest difference between Carnival and Princess/Celebrity. During embarkation, it seemed like all the people in line were very old. We joked about it must be a grandmother's convention. Something about the Panama itinerary seems to bring out the seniors. Once on board, we found out there was a group of about 610 pax from a homebuilders group aboard. I've got to think that group brought the age curve down a decade or two. They were a fun loving bunch on vacation, having a good time. On our sailing there were not a lot of kids or teens, due to the fact that school was in session. No problems there. NOTE: The early dinner seating had almost all seniors, while the late seating had an average age about 25 years younger. Think about this when you pick your dining preference. Now, this is an observation, not a judgment... This ship had a lot more "regular Joes" than you find on Princess or Celebrity. Beer instead of wine. Rum & Coke instead of Martinis. It was the first time I have seen people drinking beer from a bottle in the dining room. Carnival definitely fits the classification of "mass market" cruising. I think Princess/Celebrity pax think in their minds they are on a cruise a cut above Carnival. And they tend to be a bit more stuffy. CONCLUSION: Thinking about it, all three lines offer a very similar product, depending on what floats your boat. Despite my minor nit-picks, we had a great cruise, did what we enjoy doing, and have no complaints worth mentioning. Would we go Carnival again? I can't see why not. I think now we are itinerary driven cruisers, so we'll see what's offered in the future.

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By Dea_CR

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Dec 21, 2004

Southern Caribbean

Embarkation: The Legend was a few hours late coming into port, so it was very late leaving. Carnival bought us lunch and provided buses to “tour” a local strip mall. It beat sitting around at the port, so we took advantage of it. It went fairly quickly once they were finally ready to board. Cabin: We had an extended balcony cabin on the Upper

deck, port side, forward. It’s dimensions were more than adequate and we really appreciated the extra room on the balcony. I’d read about using the bungee cord to hold the door open, and that worked very well. The sound of the ship cutting through the water was like the soothing sound of the surf. We loved it. We had no trouble getting tons of extra hangers. Loved the roomy bathroom; liked the fact that the hair dryer was at the vanity table outside the bathroom. The fluffy robes provided were a nice touch, too. Our cabin steward was very personable and always quick with anything we asked for. I personally liked the color scheme on the Golden Princess better than the orange colors on the Legend, but that was a minor point. Food: I, too, was a little worried after reading so much bad press about the food on the Legend. But I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the food was better than what we had on Princess or NCL or RCL. The service was excellent. We had a table for two and thoroughly enjoyed interacting with our waiter and assistant waiter. They were dolls! The only complaint I had about the dining room (we had second seating) was that it was COLD!! I am not one who usually has a problem with cooler temperatures, but I had a hard time tolerating the temperature in the Truffles dining room. Maybe we just had a bad seat. The Unicorn Cafe was delightful, with every kind of food imaginable. Never any trouble with lines, and enough variety that we were never bored even on an 8 day cruise. Golden Fleece: Definitely worth the extra bucks!! I don’t know when I’ve had a steak as good as the one they served. Yes, it was large, but we just took the leftovers and put them in our cabin refrigerator. The waiters made us feel like royalty and it was fun to dance between courses. Spa: We took advantage of massages and facials, with mixed results. One massage was excellent, the other only adequate. They’re twice as expensive as you’d get the same treatment at home and they really try to push their products. The gym was nice, though, as was the sauna and steam rooms. Entertainment: I was disappointed that there was no lounge that offered ballroom dancing. For dancing, one could go to the disco (tons of kids) or the tiny dance floor where an Asian band played a mix of music, or you could dance to karaoke in the Firebird lounge. That was about it. The thing I most liked about the shows was that there was never a problem getting a seat. Some of the shows were pretty good, but I thought they did better on the Golden Princess. The cruise director and other entertainment staff did not impress me, either. They seemed plastic and insincere. Enjoyed the piano bar and cigar bar, though one would think they’d have separated a cigar bar so that everyone didn’t have to walk through it as they were exiting the dining room. Overall: The Legend does have a rather overwhelming decor, but no big deal. It’s clean, the elevators are numerous and quick, and the rooms are generally well designed. I never had that “hearded cattle” feeling, which was good as I’m extremely claustophobic. They said the ship was full, but it never felt that way. But the two whirlpool spas were always full of kids and we usually had to go to the one aft (waaay far from our cabin) to enjoy an adult, uncrowded spa. Loved the slide! Generally we loved the cruise and would go on the Legend again in a heartbeat.

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Dec 13, 2004

Western Caribbean

Departure My wife and I and my brother and his wife (all in our 50’s or close to it) took this cruise with my father to celebrate his 90th birthday in January. Others from Dad’s Florida condo village (some we knew, some we didn’t and some we were even related to) made our group total about 25. Departure was orderly but lines were long. Get

there as early as you can, the sooner you are through the lines the sooner you can get on board and relax. If you have Skipper Class privileges (i.e. Deck 11 suite etc.) watch for the escalator on your right as you weave through the lines immediately after the metal detector check. Take it up one flight to bypass most of the additional lines at check in. We did not have such lofty status this trip, so it took about 2.5 hours total from bus arrival and offloading luggage to walking up the gangway to the ship. Once on board, it was the typical first day out. The ship is new and clean, and decorated simultaneously in 12 different styles, any one of which would have been quite sufficient. Dad got off to a great start by winning the “get 10 signatures on a form before 10pm on Day 1” contest. This included 100 minutes of Internet time, a free video at the end of the cruise, some Spa treatments and a bottle of Mango Rum, along with several very classy foam “beer coolers”, some photo albums, etc. He was also an instant celebrity as he was called up to the stage to receive his prize and was on replay TV. Departure was close to on-time, which was really not of great importance because we had 2 days of steaming ahead of us before reaching our first port of call in Belize so there would have been plenty of time to make up an hour or two. However we diverted to Cozumel on the way down to disembark two passengers who developed heart problems on board the second night out. As a result we arrived in Belize about five hours late, causing some excursions to be cancelled and long lines at the Excursions desk that morning. The ship stayed two extra hours in Belize to make up for the delay. Internet I planned to stay away from email this week but since our group shared Dad’s prize minutes of connection time I learned something about the various packages available. Although you are paying at high-speed rates you will only get dial-up performance… actually worse than dial-up since all 15 or so computers are sharing about one dial-up line’s worth of bandwidth on the ship’s satellite link. You have the choice of several plans, for example 250 minutes for $100 down to Pay as you Go for $0.75 per minute. However the computers provided by Carnival support only browser-based e-mail like Hotmail and Yahoo, and it is slooooooow. Worse still, you are required to stay connected in order to read or compose your email, even if it is a long message and you just want to page up and down to read through it. If you try to save money and disconnect to read your mail, or to compose a new mail message, your browser is closed and the machine goes back to its startup configuration. So read fast and put your fastest typist on the keyboard. AIM is pre-installed on the machine, just log on. Printing costs $0.50 per page on a local color printer shared by all machines. If you want to use your own laptop for client-based email like Outlook or Eudora, bring a wireless card (or rent theirs for $10 per day) and you can get 33 minutes for $25 or several other plans for more minutes. I did this on the last day but wireless performance was abysmally slow during my 33 minutes. According to my monitor software there was no data transfer taking place for about 3 seconds out of every 4, so wait until you get home to upload those pictures of the trip. And even though I pointed this out to the Internet room guy he would not provide me with any refund or credit, so off goes a letter to Carnival. PS – the wireless plan minutes are not sharable or convertible with the Carnival computer plan minutes, to use both you have to buy two plans. Laptop rental is $20 per day. Charges incurred prior to purchasing a plan cannot be credited or transferred. No credit for unused time. Upgrading plans is not available. A one-time charge of $3.95 applies the first time you log on. However if you don’t even have a Hotmail account and want to use the ship’s own CruisE-mail ISP there is an additional charge of $3.95 for each outgoing message sent. Ouch. Food Food (not service, but the food itself) in the dining room was the biggest disappointment on this cruise. We ate all dinners and most breakfasts in the dining room and while everything tasted fine we did not really have one memorable-tasting dish the whole cruise with the exception of the chocolate cake (regular) and the chocolate cake (flourless) we had a couple of nights for dessert. That’s pretty sad given all the effort that is put into food presentation and appearance. Those who had Lobster Tails (three and even four per person in some cases) were in heaven on day 3 though. Those who ordered from the low salt menu found considerable salt in their entrees so beware. In spite of the lackluster food, our waiters Gerardo and Antonio were actually the highlight of the trip. Friendly, warm and caring but not pushy, interested in nothing more than taking care of your every need. It was the best wait staff service I can recall anywhere including some pretty fancy places. It’s just a shame the kitchen didn’t give them more to work with but there was absolutely nothing more we could have asked for from these two hard-working gentlemen. Well done. We did not pay the extra swindle of $25 per person to experience the Golden Fleece restaurant on deck 10. Set aside two and one half hours for this “experience” or so I’m told. Maybe the food tastes better up there but I figure we paid enough already to get good food. The Unicorn Café on Lido deck is the other place to get food at all hours, and it’s your typical buffet fare. Juices and coffee always available and taste good. Sushi was good. The deli made fresh sandwiches in a flash with several slicing machines going all the time. I never saw long lines in the Lido area all week other than the first day before departure when all everyone wants to do is drop bags in rooms and go eat. Lots of fresh salad stuff too. Ice cream machines make super-sweet ice milk, and the best they can do for topping is Hershey’s chocolate sauce. Where’s the real hot fudge? Oh, you have to pay for that at the Legends Café. That also appeared to be the only place to find desserts with actual taste. Am I seeing a pattern here? Excursions If you call Carnival in advance they will send you a PDF file which you can browse or print at home which describes all the tours (without prices though). This is the same document you will get on board, and by reading in advance you can make your tour purchases from the television in your stateroom the moment you come on board. Since some tours sell out quickly you can drop your bags, purchase your tickets, and relax the rest of day One without standing in line at the Excursion desk. In Belize we could not take our planned snorkeling excursion (refund was automatic, avoiding any arguments) due to our late arrival from the medical emergency so we just went into town with Dad and had a beer (hot even in December!) and shared a dessert at the Harborview Restaurant, about 2-3 blocks to the right after you exit the gates at the port. Upstairs you can sit on the deck or inside and look out over the water, very relaxing, good service, highly recommended. So what if a bunch of guys all want to give you a taxi ride as you walk around, just ignore them, they are all very well behaved. Get your hair braided or something, you’re on vacation! Souvenirs in Belize City were a disappointment, even the shops that sold locally produced crafts, mostly just lots of dark polished wood carvings. My brother and his wife did get on the remaining tour to Goff’s Caye for snorkeling and had a great time. They will drop you on the beach so you can wade in, or you can hop off the boat out by the reef. I had brought along two “real” diving masks which they used and appreciated because the local rental masks are pretty beat up. Why snorkel if you can’t see? Bring your own diving mask and snorkel if you have them. (New rule – no more rental snorkels, have to buy a new one for $5 which you get to keep.) In Limon, Costa Rica we took the “Sloth Sanctuary / Canoe Trip” which was well worth it. A couple has built up a Sloth rehab and study center at their B&B, and now have about 5 good size buildings and a nice physical plant. You see a video about Sloths in a big open room and then meet some adult and orphaned baby Sloths. Very nice creatures (both the sloths and the owners) and the atmosphere was positive and friendly. What you see is what you get, simple and nice. The canoe trip is along a couple of canals that pass by the site, nice wide stable 5-person models. A local fellow paddles you around for about half an hour and you can see monkeys and sloths in the trees along side. It’s not “real” jungle (the road is just 50 feet away) but I was happy. We were treated to a rain storm but there are umbrellas in the canoes and even in December it is warm. For better protection bring along a disposable poncho from home (we paid a buck at the Dollar Store back home) to combine the umbrella and you will be nice and dry. I love canoe rides and this was just right, gliding along quietly and enjoying the sights and sounds. Dad came too, but the loading is done right at waters edge and they’ve gotten it just right with no problems at all, just step in and sit down. When you get back, your bus tour guide walks you along a jungle nature path with signs identifying some of the trees. More monkeys, sloths and termite nests in the trees. Finally back to the sanctuary and a snack of fruit and fruit juice, soda and beer available, with an opportunity to pick up a few things in the gift shop. Even this was nicer than it probably sounds here. (Note to collectors: may be the only place to get real Ty sloth beanie babies. These are the two-toed versions.) The owners were both there the whole time and are very dedicated to the Sloth recovery issue. I think you can see the whole deal at http://www.ogphoto.com/aviarios/. Sadly our bus tour guide stuck to the standard list of topics… “Now I will cover the main exports of Costa Rica…” but she had a good attitude and the bus tour is only 40 minutes each way. Bring earplugs. They do stop at a local hotel on the way back for the obligatory shopping tour, but the shop is open air and quite rustic and you of course don’t have to buy anything. Highly recommended. In Panama we bit the bullet and paid $175 each for the Panama Canal tour. Once you get over the price, it’s a treat all the way. The Isthmus snakes around so much that the sun rises over the Pacific Ocean and sets over the Caribbean, and the canal that connects the east and west oceans actually runs almost north to south. (Check your Atlas, it’s still got me confused). We docked in Limon, board about sixteen buses for a 50 minute run down south to the Panama City end of the canal, then board an excursion boat that holds several hundred people for a trip back northward to Gamboa, about 90 minutes or half way back to Limon. (Hint for winter cruisers: after boarding go up one deck to the middle of three, and walk around the wheelhouse to the bow deck in front of the wheelhouse. Take the seats toward the rear and you will be shaded by the wheelhouse all the way as the boat is pointed North and the sun is behind you. On the top deck there are tables along both sides that are shaded. Otherwise you’ll sit in the middle under shade cover but you’ll have to stand out in the sun to see the whole view. For summer cruisers, I don’t imagine any open seat will be shaded for long.) Turkey sandwiches are passed out free about 11am, water and soda are free too. In Gamboa the buses are waiting for you to take you back to the ship. We left at 7am and were back to the ship by 1:30pm for a 3:30 departure. Earplug time again, the sound system is painfully loud but the guides know their stuff. Our guide Frank had been in the Canal Zone area for forty years and he stuck to the offbeat topics that make you feel you’ve learned something really special. (Each bus has its own guide and they all come along for the boat ride and mingle with the passengers the whole way, which gives you plenty of time to think of that question you forgot to ask on the bus.) The Canal is a wonder, and you will appreciate it much more if you check out “The Path Between the Seas” from your local library and bring it along to read on board ship before reaching Panama. Bring it on the tour as well, you can see how the Gaylord Cut through the Continental Divide looked before it was filled with water so you could sail through it. Several guides told me this is their bible and everything they tell tourists comes from this book. Well written and a fun read too. On this tour you go through 3 locks from Panama City to Gamboa and end up at the level of Lake Gatun, 85’ above sea level. Lots of freighter traffic coming the other way made for interesting sights. Carnival is saving a bundle by not taking the ship through the canal, locking fees are over $200,000 for passage by a ship of our size. If you don’t want to actually go on the canal there are tours which just visit it by bus and there is a new museum built along the canal from which we saw people waving to us. I was told there is a good display of canal history and a scale model, photos, etc. If you take a non-water tour, make sure this place is on the itinerary. Three hours out from Panama on the way home we had to return to port to off-load a Carnival employee who was feared to have Appendicitis, so six hours lost but still plenty of time to make it up for an on-time arrival… until 12 hours later when we had to divert east to Grand Cayman for yet another passenger medical emergency offload in the middle of the night. That was more than the poor engines could make up for even running at 26 knots the rest of the way home, which is a full 3-4 knots over listed maximum cruising speed. (Our dining table was over the engines at the far back end of the dining room and our plates were shaking around the table…the whole was shaking as a result of the Captain trying to make up time by pushing the engines to their limits to avoid too many passengers missing their airplane connections tomorrow after we arrive.) Thanks, Cap’n. Note to Chief Engineer – lube, oil and filter before next departure. Entertainment Follies Lounge is forward in the bow, deck 2 for main house and deck 3 for balcony. No saving seats, so skip dessert (except for chocolate cake) and get there early – full house for every performance. One game of Bingo at 8, early show at 8:30. (Same at 10 and 10:30 for late diners). The sound system is LOUD so bring those earplugs again and enjoy yourself (or just turn off the hearing aids like my cousin Betty.) Shows are generally good and entertaining, but the new revue “Take II” was awful, too loud, all glitz and little plot or theme. They also had technical difficulties with raising the screens between acts that stopped the show twice for almost 5 minutes each time. I can’t blame them for this, except to say that the show is so full of technical challenges like mixing live singing and dancing with recorded video clips that I’m surprised that more did not go wrong. The entire stage setup is truly state of the art including rising orchestra pit. Otherwise, orchestra was great, singing was in tune, dancing was energetic and well done to my inexperienced eye. 22 year old keyboard whiz “Ian” must be heard to be believed. Live music around the ship (other than in the bars) was almost always too loud for the small spaces in which they play. Jazz combo with grand piano, full drum set and electric bass in a bar area that seats about 30? Not unless you don’t care to talk to anyone in your party all night. Mike Lawless in Billie’s Bar was a treat – all request all the time with a book of about 500 songs and some original pieces now and then. Just go and enjoy an honest entertainer with a good voice, an energetic piano style and a pleasant personality. No idea how he slipped past the boobs at Carnival who think everything has to be Disneyland-on-the-Water. Highlight of the entertainment by FAR was Christopher Allen Graves and his revue, “Singin’ with the Big Band,” a tribute to Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. This guy is the real deal, warm, sincere, great voice, great dancer. Sixteen years on ships for Carnival. I like good singing with dancing that supports the main act (instead of being the main act) and this show was just perfect. We just stayed for both shows and didn’t regret a minute, the casino will get your money tomorrow. Jaw-droppingly good. Buy his CD after the show, he’ll autograph it for you. Casino We are not gamblers or big casino visitors but on board you play your $10 or $20 per day and have some fun. Everyone complained that the Slots were stingy, and I’d have to agree based on limited experience in Vegas and Tahoe. There are half a dozen nickel machines, and even 6 or 8 penny machines. Hard to get a seat in front of one though. If you like to gamble you’ll have lots of company. Miscellaneous I can’t remember a ship or hotel where the elevator service made me smile, but this ship has the best elevator service I have ever seen. Quick and quiet. You could ride the interior glass elevators up and down the Colossus for10 decks all day just for the view. There’s step aerobics at 7:30am about every other day, but it should be a regular thing. The equipment in the exercise room was top notch and it’s up high with glass wrap-around windows. $10 charge for Yoga (why?). Liezl the Golf Pro is stuck up on Deck 10 outdoors in a cage, but with her digital video cam and some really great video software she helped me a lot in just one lesson. I signed up for a package of three but high winds last two days closed deck 10. Hey Carnival, give this gal an inside room and a Golf Simulator. There seemed to be plenty of deck chairs, but it was not a summer cruise so not as much demand I’m sure. The aft deck was almost always deserted but it has its own spa, bar and deck chair set up. They never turned on the water slide due to temperature, so that would bring the kids back I’m sure but during our cruise it was a great little getaway corner. It might seem silly, but dividing up the passengers at dinner on the first night into three ‘teams’ (red, white and blue) gives you something in common right away. And they award points for everything you do to contribute to the festivities, like dancing at the karaoke bar during the numbers. So it helps people over their inhibitions. We visited the Firebird Lounge once to watch the Karaoke and it was very professionally done, with an MC running the equipment and scheduling the singers. Lots of people apparently made this their evening home and had a great time. Dancing is welcome during the performances as well, which makes for an informal atmosphere. Nice job. Our impression of Carnival’s attitude toward educating their guests about the places they are about to visit can be summed up in six words: “Check your brain at the door.” Do your research before you get on board, you won’t find any literature, background info, lectures, slide shows, or anything else that might help you appreciate or understand the places you are about to go. Why not … well, you get the idea…do other cruise lines do this? In the same vein, there was no respite from Carnival’s incessant flogging of merchandise, art, jewelry, photos, etc. at every opportunity. A cynic might view all those “Fun Days at Sea” as nothing more than a plan to bore you into gambling and spending money in the gift shops while they run you around the Caribbean on an itinerary that gives you about 20 hours on shore out of a total cruise of 8 days. But hey, a lot of folks just like being on a ship, so enjoy!

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Nov 19, 2004

Western Caribbean

The Carnival Legend is a ship that caters to the masses of unseasoned travelers. The levels of service, atmosphere and quality are at the very bottom of the industry standards. As I was traveling with my children, the well publicized slogan “the fun ships” is the reason I chose this ship however, there was nothing “fun” about poor service, over-crowded public

areas, weak activities, bad food and so on. At a cost of $110 per day, per person, before gratuities and on-board costs, this cruise was not a good value and not a pleasant experience. Below is a fair account of the “highs and lows” of the ship and its staff. Embarkation: Embarkation at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale is quite efficient. The port is located less than 10 minutes from the airport making it affordable and convenient to arrive by taxi rather than the cruise transport services. The embarkation process was smooth and quick, particularly if you pre-register all the members of your party in advance on Carnival’s web site. To my pleasant surprise, there was abundant seating available for much of the embarkation process. In addition, guests were permitted on board prior to the published 1:30PM boarding time. Given the large number of passengers, this was impressive. Décor The décor on the Carnival Legend is ghastly. Never have I seen such gaudy, mismatched décor and I live in Las Vegas! The intentional clash of materials (mirrors, glass and simulated wood) combined with urns and southwestern décor (entrance to show room) is in extremely unattractive and dizzying. The ship lacks any sense of sophistication and good taste. The carpets in the hallways adjacent to the state rooms had been replaced, however, the original carpeted cove base had not, thereby illustrating an obvious cost saving measure and creating a mismatched result. Guest Suites The two adjacent extended balcony suites which we occupied were both decorated in various shades of orange which reminded me of the 1970’s. The suites were painfully lacking of “extras” as there were no flowers, fruit baskets or welcome aboard gifts. The closet space was sufficient and the clearance under the beds was appropriate to fit our large hard case luggage. The shower was a pleasant surprise in both spaciousness and water temperature. A plastic dispenser with body soap and shampoo was provided in the shower in lieu of individual sized toiletries. The extended balconies offered space for greater comfort and we were pleased that our room steward made arrangements to have the partition opened between the two balconies allowing us easy access between the rooms without the necessity of going out into the hallway. The doorway to the balcony, however, was not a sliding glass door thereby eliminating the option of sleeping with the door open denying us the pleasure of listening to the sounds of the ocean anytime we were in our rooms. Dining Options The choice of dining on this ship was extremely limited. The main dining room was available for open seating for breakfast and lunch (except in port where lunch was not served). Dinner was pre-reserved at designated tables, being served by the same Waiter and Assistant Waiter nightly. It appeared that the main dining room was not sufficiently designed to accommodate a full passenger capacity. As such, a small adjoining room was also being used during the dinner seatings. Persons having the misfortune of being seated in this room were reassured that they had the best “quick exit” out of the restaurant! Despite having booked two balcony cabins, we were assigned to this sub-standard seating. At our request, we did manage to be reseated the following evening to more superior location. The main dining room food was inconsistent. We noticed that the menu would often over-promise and under deliver. One such example was the promise of prawns when 30-40 count shrimp were served. Another example was the promise of vine-ripened tomatoes when un-ripened tomatoes, clearly packaged green, were served. There were several dishes that had to be returned, namely the Coquille St. Jacques that was tremendously overcooked and the highly overstated Chateau Briand. Dessert choices were also so poor that we opted to have fruit for desert nearly every evening. The only free alternative dining was provided on the Lido deck where cafeteria style dining awaited! I refrain from calling this “buffet style” as calling the Unicorn Café a buffet would be an insult to any genuine buffet offered on the Las Vegas strip. The atmosphere, quality of food and despair of the employees made this a place I chose to avoid as much as possible. A small coffee station was available to purchase coffee and breakfast pastries. I purchased two pastries, one for myself and one for my son, only once, discovering that the exterior presentation far outweighed the flavor. Finally, one additional restaurant, the Golden Fleece, was available in the evenings for an additional $25 per person per meal. This restaurant was the only dining on the ship that met our expectations. The service and quality of food were very good. Staffing and Customer Service With the exception of a handful of employees (our room steward, and the Waiter and Assistant Waiter at table 231 being exceptions), the only way describe the crew is miserable. It is completely evident that the crew members do not enjoy their jobs and enjoy the presence of the passengers even less! Smiles were non-existent. Courtesies and good manners were rarely extended. Several incidents described below set the tone of the entire atmosphere. Upon boarding, as my children and I made our way to the Lido deck for the welcome aboard luncheon, we literally ran into our first of many wretched employees. This particular pool area waiter was carrying a tray of fruity welcome aboard drinks when he made an abrupt 180 degree turn thrusting himself directly into our oncoming path. The tray wobbled while he desperately tried to stabilize it. In the end, one tall drink tumbled to the tile floor below causing the contents to shower on myself and my daughter. One would expect a sincere apology but instead the waiter cast us a disgusted look and began to pick up the ice on the floor. Still standing in the same spot with stains on our clothes, my daughter was forced to ask if we could use one of the towels to wipe ourselves. Still without a word, he finally handed us a towel. A second event occurred shortly thereafter in the Unicorn café which was a cafeteria style restaurant which required the use of trays (the only free alternative dining on the ship). It was extremely crowded with most tables being occupied. Those tables that were not occupied had not been bussed. As we were aimlessly searching for a place to sit, much to horror, my huge tray caught the edge of the protruding window frames and slammed into the floor. Naturally, I felt terrible and was distraught. Fortunately, a bus girl was nearby and I caught her eye hoping for a sympathetic smile. But she didn’t smile or rescue me at all. She didn’t offer any sympathy, spoken or unspoken. I asked her if there was a towel that I could use to assist in the clean up, but she merely waved her hand at me signaling me to go away. I was so upset by the incident that I did not eat at all and left the area. During breakfast one morning in the main dining room, I had the pleasure of meeting a couple who genuinely reminded me of both of my deceased parents. Needless to say, I was delighted by their company as we enjoyed breakfast together around 9:30AM. Shortly after finishing our eggs, as we sat and drank coffee and tea together, it became apparent that the staff was more interested in clearing this section of the dining room than in the comfort and pleasure of the customers. Two waiters actually began standing directly behind us (within a foot) making it very clear that we were not welcomed to stay despite the fact that the dining room would not close for another hour. One morning, at the excursion desk, quite a few customers were discussing what alternatives might be available since their excursions were being cancelled due to poor weather. We were among those persons. We discussed the alternative tours which were still available and asked for a few minutes to consult with the children. The staff reassured us that taking a few minutes would be no problem. When we returned 10 minutes later, the desk was closed! A ship with superior customer service, out of courtesy for the guests, would have remained open extended hours (or minutes) due to the large volume of passengers being inconvenienced but the Legend employees would never provide anything more than the absolute minimum standards! On the last day of our cruise, we arrived for breakfast in the main dining room at 7:30AM to allow enough time to be at our designated meeting spot by 8:30AM. Although we were seated immediately, by 8:15AM we still had not been served our meals. Two dozen persons, who arrived much later than us, had already been served and were leaving the dining room. When I expressed concern to the waiter about our time constraints, he literally yelled at me. He shouted that the turnover days for the staff are very busy and stressful and that our food would come when it got there. The horror on our faces must have embarrassed the other wait staff as one of the other waiters did have the good manners to apologize to us for the behavior of his co-worker. Shortly after this incident, we gladly left the ship, forever! Activities: The activities offered on the Carnival Legend are weak. Perhaps hairy chest competitions and blaring music at the pool is considered entertainment by some, but not by me! The best activities and entertainment on board were several of the evening shows in the showroom. Children’s program: My expectation for the industry’s best children’s programs was the main basis for booking this cruise. Unfortunately, the Carnival Legend fell short in this area too. My eight year old son was not at all enthused to be stuck in a windowless room (except for the skylight windows) with six and seven year olds playing board games and computer games with outdated computers. Having cruised with Carnival before (out of Los Angeles), he was expecting to have fun and found none! My thirteen year old son met a number of other teenagers on the ship and enjoyed roaming the ship with his new friends outside of the children’s program. In conclusion, the Carnival Legend is a ship which will please only those with minimal standards.

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Nov 11, 2004

Western Caribbean

I was in the Navy so I think I have a different point of view than most of the reviews I've read about this ship. Being a retired navy man and never having sailed on anything but navy ships before, this ship looked fantastic to me. The service was exceptional and I couldn't believe how friendly and helpful the staff was during the entire cruise. I heard

people say the food was bad, but I thought it was great. People complained about the motion of the ship but I could barely tell it was moving. I don't know what people expect out of a cruise but I was waited on hand and foot by very friendly people in a clean and very elegant ship. There was PLENTY of shopping opportunities. I have nothing bad at all to say about our stateroom. We had a wonderful time and I would recommend traveling on it again. I like to run and I found that the "running deck" they have on the 11th deck is not really adequate. Instead I ran on the 10th deck which I estimated one lap to be approx. 1/3 mile. Nobody ever said I couldn't run on it and it was sufficient to get a good run in. I did one run of 7 miles before pulling into Costa Rica. The only problem is that the forward part of the ship acts like a wind tunnel and it makes it hard to walk or run up there, but I still did ok. The gym was very good and they have excellent sauna facilities. I tend to get up very early to work out so I was usually exhausted and in bed by 10PM when they had their nightly shows but I heard they were very good. That was my choice to miss them and I can't fault the ship because I chose to sleep instead of watch the shows. I can't compare this to another cruise line since this was the only cruise ship I was ever on, so take my comments for whatever they are worth. From reading previous reviews I feel kind of guilty for stating that we had a great time. But for me, 8 days of no cell phone, rush hour traffic, or e-mails was enough to make me feel like I died and went to heaven so I'm not inclined to be too harsh here. Again, I had a great time and I whole heartedly recommend the Legend for anybody thinking of taking a cruise.

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Oct 5, 2004

Eastern Carribean

Carnival is a good time...period. The food was tasty and the staff was great. Brett the cruise director was very funny and his staff was hilarious. They made every activity alot of fun. HIGHLIGHTS: St. Thomas excursion to Buck Island for snorkling. Excellent! Wonderful cruise to a beautiful location with a very pleasant crew.

Billies Piano Bar with Mike. Great time, his talent added with personal stories made this sing-along bar my favorite on the ship. Do not be fooled by the "sing-along" tag, Mike plays a huge variety of music including today's top 40 songs. DISAPPOINTMENTS: Funvision movies were not the best. Could have a better variety without having to pay $8.99 for the premium movies. Beverage card not a very good deal. Soda is available at the bar or thru bar service, bar service is EVERYWHERE....EXCEPT...in the Unicorn Cafe where buffet lunch and dinner are served. So you must come prepared with a couple of drinks to your meal. This for me was the time I was most likely to be drinking soft drinks!Save the $5.00+ per day and drink the free beverages of punch, iced tea and lemonade. Which is plentiful.

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Sep 27, 2004

Western Caribbean

Well...this review will be fairly short and sweet. IT WAS FANTASTIC! When I go on vacation I make the most out of the days I am away. We traveled with 11 wonderful ladies (between the ages of 38 and 56) No husbands...no children. So, how could you not have a great time? The ship was lovely. Yes, urns everywhere you look but not obnoxious. I was too busy having

fun to pay attention to the urns. The food was very good. The service was just fine. The excursions were great. If you can, do try and do the St. John's Trunk Bay and the Virgin Gorda Baths in Tortola. Two fabulous places to see. You will not regret it. If you are considering this cruise, feel free to e-mail me with any questions. I will be happy to answer all. Happy Sailing!

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Sep 27, 2004

Western Caribbean

This cruise was kind of a last minute decision by Diane and me. When we returned from our March 6-13 cruise on HAL’s Zuiderdam we were in absolute agony. It was far worse for Diane because she simply had no motivation or desire to go to work. I was afraid I was going to need to find her a shrink. I’m basically retired but help her out at the salon with tanning

so my problem was I just wanted back on the ship. So to appease her and, yes me too, I booked another cruise for 6 November on HAL’s Zaandam. By July we determined November was just too far away and needed to get onto a ship sooner. When I received a notice from Carnival about an 8 night cruise at drastically reduced prices…we had to go. If any of you have read my review of the Zuiderdam cruise, you are aware of Diane’s fear of flying, riding in anything that moves faster than “the Small World ride at Disney World”. The Legend cruise sailed from NYC so we traveled by train, avoiding the flying part of the fear. She popped a few of her “I fear nothing” pills and sucked down a few wine coolers and she was feeling no pain. Even the short taxi ride, which otherwise would have resulted in permanent imprints of her fingers in my leg, went without incident. Diane and I had concerns about Carnival cruises. Not the ships or service or itinerary but the “Fun” part. We see cruises as kick back and relax times. We avoid noise and partying and kids. Yeah we did get spoiled on NCL and HAL with our suites and concierge but as long as we had our balcony we would survive and we go back to a suite on the Zaandam in November. We call this our Kicks and Giggles Cruise. September and October are the peak hurricane months and this was a minor concern. Then along came Charley, Francis, Ivan and finally Jeanne. I know ships make itinerary changes to avoid hurricanes. Actually, when you think about it, cruises are better vacations choose than a stationery resort which can’t move if a hurricane comes along. As I followed the track of Jeanne I became concerned about how the Legend was going to get back to New York City to pick us up. Needless to say my concern was unnecessary and everything went off without a hitch. Embarkation: As I mentioned earlier we traveled to New York City by train which arrives at Penn Station. It has been suggested to get out across the street and walk to the Pier which is about a 250 foot walk. Taxis must go down 2 blocks and make a U-turn onto the ramp. The ramp is jammed with traffic and takes a while to get to the ship. We chose to have the taxi take us to the pier. The cost was $10 including tip. The legend was the only ship arriving/departing that day which was a Tuesday. I wouldn’t want to try this on a weekend when 3 or 4 ships were there. There were no porters around so we had to lug our luggage into the terminal. It is a short walk and really no problem. Inside was a Carnival rep. who checked our luggage tags and a porter to take the luggage away. We arrived at 11:15 and Carnival had us line up for security check at 11:45. Then we stood there for about an hour waiting, waiting and then wait some more. Apparently Carnival was having a luncheon and tour for about 200 travel agents. They were processed before allowing the passengers to board which was around 12:45. Not a lot of fun there! The Ship The Legend is an absolutely beautiful ship. The first thing you see is the Atrium. Three glass elevators which go up to Deck 10. Lots of other elevators make getting from place to place with no problems. Our stateroom was a category 7A (obstructed view balcony) on deck 5. The cabin was very nice. It was larger than similar category cabins on other class Carnival ships and most other lines. Plenty of storage. Even the bathroom was more spacious than I expected. Soap and shampoo dispensers in the shower were handy. We tend to stay in our room until 9:30-10:00 each morning. This may be the reason our room wasn’t cleaned until after 4:00 on TWO DAYS. Did not make me a happy camper. We never did figure out which cabin steward was ours. Truffels is the main dining room. We had the early seating at a table for 6. This was the 35th cruise for one couple (Sam and Anne). Service was adequate. The assistant waiter must have been having personal problems. The waiter (Azam) was very attentive. The food was just OK. I had rack of lamb one night which was a bunch of bones on top of meat that tasted more liver IMHO. I’m a meat, vegetable and potato kind’a guy so the way the meals were presented was not to my liking. With the exception of one meal with mash potatoes and broccoli the vegetables were buried under the meat. Each night we were entertained by the serving staff to a song or dance. The Flaming Alaska parade is now a thing of the past due to liability issues we were told. The late night buffets were your basic fair. The gala buffet however was outstanding if only for the skill and talent required to prepare. The various carving from ice and food were wonderful. 45 minutes before the buffet are set aside for picture taking only. The Unicorn Café is located on the Lido Deck. A terrific assortment of food which changes each meal. We ate most of our breakfasts and lunches here. Absolutely no complaints about food at the Unicorn Café. The juice dispensers deserves a comment. They were always full with tea, apple juice, punch and lemonade. They were not watered down so adding ice made them icy cold and not tasting like flavored water. Thank you Carnival. The ice cream is always available but it’s actually ice milk and tastes like it. The Grill is located by the main pool and offers hamburgers, big fat hotdogs and fries. It also has mushrooms, chili, etc. We, unfortunately, did not take advantage of the Golden Fleece Restaurant. The people we talked with who did eat there said it was well worth the $25 p.p. fee. Entertainment in the Follies Lounge was very good. The cruise director, Brett Alans, is an accomplished magician and was an act one night. There was a tribute to Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. by Christopher Alan Graves which was very nice. The Carnival Legend Dancers put on a Vegas style show on two nights. One of the nights there is an opportunity to have your picture taken with a Showgirl as you exit Truffels from dinner. Live entertainment of various types was available in the many lounges and a D.J. to spin discs in Medusa’s Disco Club Merlin Casino is a casino. What else can I say. Actually I can say this is the first time I didn’t lose money in the slots, I got to even and quit. A gambler I’m not. A major concern we had was children. We figured there would be limited children on a cruise at this time. I believe there were less than 100 children on the ship. With the exception of running and yelling in the hallway outside our stateroom every morning and evening children presented no problems at all. They were all well mannered in the public areas. During the summer months or school breaks it may be different. The aft pool is reserved for adults only and families with children respected this restriction. We did not participate in any excursions. We had been to St. Thomas and Tortola in March so we just got off the boat and walked around Old San Juan for an hour or so. Debarkation was another disaster. We walked into the terminal, found our luggage. Then we had to lug it about 200 feet, get on line to wait for a porter who would then take it the next 200 feet to the curb. We decided to forgo the porter. It took a couple 20 minutes to get a porter. By that time we had gotten into our cab and were on our way. We went shopping for luggage with wheels the day after we returned. We had never experienced a shortage of porters before but I’m not taking any chances on having to carry luggage again. With the exception of embarkation and debarkation we had a wonderful time. I’ve had better service and meals but this was minor compared to everything else on the cruise. I certainly didn’t starve. We highly recommend the Carnival Legend and look forward to again cruising with Carnival.

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Sep 3, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

Compared with some other folks’ experience described here, our trip was quite a bit better. We didn’t have engine problems or change of destinations and the sea was only a little rough for 1 or 2 days. The most was just a little awkward walking on the ship, but nothing like the utensils in the restaurant making loud noise or falling off the table, etc. Embarkation: On

the day we left New York, there was only one big ship in port and the process was quite smooth. We arrived about an hour before departure time and there were not too many people left waiting in line. We got on the ship in about 10-15 minutes. Decoration: Having read good and bad reviews about the ship’s décor, I wasn’t too surprised either way but thought the Colossus Atrium, although high and tall, was not as grandiose as I expected. It was quite narrow and dark, almost like a shaft in an old New York building. I was also a little turned off by the urn-shaped decoration posts in the lounges. The color in the cabin hallways made them look old. Otherwise, the overall ambiance was pleasant. Cabin: We had two small children and booked a cabin with 2 upper and 2 lower beds. Fearing the kids might roll off the bed, we chose to put them in the lower ones and climb the ladder ourselves. I expected the cabin steward to introduce himself, but he didn’t when he came knocking on our door. I don’t know his name even today. Maybe his English wasn’t very good, but he was polite and diligent during the trip. Our kids loved the animals they made with the towels each night. Other areas had very pretty stewardesses. Entertainment: We didn’t gamble this time because of the kids. Our entertainment onboard was mostly the shows, onboard kids and family activities, and lounge music. The kids enjoyed Camp Carnival’s activities and swimming in the ship’s pools. I wish their pools were bigger as they did get very crowded from time to time. The shows were a bit uneven in quality. I was very impressed with Jazz Hot and liked Take II. The kids loved the Village Idiots’ juggling act and the cruise director’s magic. Some other shows seemed a little cheaply put together and the comedians weren’t that funny. The crew was very enthused about their bingo games and each day they had multiple drawings. Some audience participated activities were not very classy, although some folks seemed to enjoy them. One example, “The Hairiest Chest Competition”. Excursions: We arrived in Puerto Rico just after noon, a couple hours early. The ship was traveling at 22 to 23 knots and was overall quite smooth if not for the remnants of Hurricane Frances rocking the boat during our first day at sea. Even though we had the most time in Puerto Rico (about 12 hours), there were very few excursion offerings. 3 of the 7 offered were canceled due to low participation and another scrapped due to poor water condition. We didn’t expect much in Puerto Rico and got off the boat quite late. With two youngsters in tow, we went on a self-guided walking tour in Old San Juan. The old Spanish style buildings were pretty impressive and reminded me of New Orleans. The city was very slow paced and we saw a lot of old folks walking around on narrow streets. The motorists were quite polite and always yielded to pedestrians. On some streets one could find a lot of alley cats strolling or lying around and it was quite an unusual scene. We booked a snorkel tour and a Coral World tour mostly for the kids in St. Thomas. The tours were quite fun, especially seeing so many beautiful tropical fish swarming around you, aggressively biting off the feed you held in your hand. Floating above the scuba divers and watching their bubbles rising around you made you feel like you were flying. We didn’t have enough time for 2 tours in Tortola, so we opted to go to Virgin Gorda to see the Baths. It was great fun sunbathing on the beautiful white sand beach there and swimming and snorkeling in the crystal clear water. The only rain on the parade was that Hurricane Frances had swept a lot of jellyfish close to shore and they stung many people including myself. The sting hurt pretty badly and kept me from having as much fun as I could have otherwise. Another fellow shipmate was in even worse luck and required immediate medical treatment in that small island’s clinic. Overall we enjoyed the ports of call of this cruise, but only wished we could have longer stays to explore them more. That may very well be the dilemma for most cruise trips. Food and Service: The food on the ship was about what we had expected, although I wished they had more than just pizza in the wee hours on some nights. We had dinner every evening in the Truffles restaurant but lunch and breakfast were almost always in the Unicorn Café. The service in the Truffles was polite and pleasant, although a tad slow at times. Our waiters went out their way to entertain us, especially the kids. Their after dinner dance was fun. Gym: Their gym was spacious and equipment abundant. I didn’t notice any malfunctioning apparatus, and it might be due to the low participation of my fellow shipmates. After all, they were on the ship to have a good time and packing on pounds instead of sweating out. Disembarkation: Our ship arrived an hour later than scheduled due to a medical evacuation of a shipmate early that morning. Already in port were 2 big ships from other cruise lines and another smaller ship. Altogether there were almost 20,000 people getting on and off the ships and you can imagine the chaotic frenzy in the crowded New York port and streets nearby. Our pickup ride was delayed over 2 hours on its way to the pickup area and many other folks also regretted not taking taxis while they could when they just got off the ship. Overall: It was our first ever cruise trip and we didn’t expect too much. We were pretty lucky to have good weather and smooth sailing. The destinations were very enjoyable and we had fun on the ship as well. I would go on another cruise in a year or two with any cruise line.

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Sep 3, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

My trip on the Legend was a positive one; my family and I had a great time. Some things I liked about this trip and some things I did not. I’ll describe each in sections – both good and bad. Embarkation – leaving out of NYC was really not bad at all. We live about 30 minutes from the port (50th street in NYC), and arrived there about 12 noon.

We got our luggage taken by a porter, and were on line to get our documents together and picture for the sign&sail card within 45 minutes. I’d say we were on the ship within 1hr from arrival. The line for the cruise at the port moved pretty quickly and the only confusion was to move about all the people with 2 small children. I will say that many more people arrived shortly after we did so if we were 30 minutes later in arrival to the port; we would have probably waited longer. The Legend interior – the ship is beautiful and very large. I read many reviews that the interior was gaudy but I found it quite elegant. Yes, the URN motif and Greek artwork is a bit much but nothing more than I would compare how much Disney goes to get a “theme” in place at one of their resorts. There were several bars on each level – but most things were on deck 2 and deck 3. Deck 2 is where you enter and the casino, follies lounge, dining room (Truffles), a nice round bar, and a few other bars with pianos are located here. So since the ship is so large people can be on this deck and it does not feel crowded, even in the casino, which was quite large for a cruise. The casino had a nice bar (which you can smoke at) and lots of slots (5c, 25c, and $1.), gaming tables including Let it Ride, Caribbean Stud, Blackjack and Craps. The piano bars played music at designated times and other bars were listed as Non-Smoking. I really didn’t see many people ignoring this rule and as a smoker I went where I could smoke. The disco is 2 levels with a big head of Medussa inside it was quite interesting motif. Deck 3 had more bars – the Satchmo were a really good Asian band played and we went there frequently. There is only 1 dining room on this ship and it has entrance on 2 levels – deck 2 and 3. As well as the Follies lounge where you can get in on the same 2 levels. The gift shops and Pastry/Coffee Bar (for fee) were on deck 3 as well. Plenty of elevators to get you from floor to floor if you choose not to walk. Gift Shops – never had I been on a cruise that had so little to offer in terms of merchandise. There was the standard vodka’s and rums for sale – some good deals to be had. The jewelry was nothing to speak of – maybe this has to do w/port of call in St. Thomas. T-shirts, shorts, etc. but not a big variety. I did spend some money on the “chains by the inch” which I’ve seen on every cruise – that had a nice selection of both gold and silver plated jewelry at decent prices. You could not buy liquor and bring it back to your stateroom, but they did have snacks for sale – candy and such, as well as basic medicine (Tylenol, etc.). Truffles Dining room – Food was average here – probably the worst dining room food I’ve had on any Carnival cruise. It was not that it tasted bad it was more about variety. There was usually a chicken, fish, beef, pasta dish as main entrée and about 4 appetizers on the menu. What we ate there we never once considered asking for seconds like we have (I admit it) on previous voyages. Desserts were fine, nothing spectacular – but the Key Lime Pie on the first or second day of sailing was EXCELLENT!!!! Our waiter and ass’t waiter were OK. Waiter just got promoted to the waiter position and did not speak good English at all. I would ask for something and he would try to ensure that he understood but he still didn’t. We skipped leaving them an extra gratuity. It always amazes me when we have adequate service. These people work SO hard for their tips but little things like not asking if we wanted another entrée when I specifically said I didn’t care for the one I was eating is a sign of not understanding good wait service. But our wait staff was considerate enough to accommodate us when we arrived 30 minutes late for dinner and get us served with out giving us a hard time. Golden Fleece – was worth every bit we spent there. We ordered a $40 bottle of wine and cocktails. Since we don’t tip for opening a bottle of wine, we didn’t leave an extra gratuity for the wine steward. The food was outstanding. We had surf/turf and thou the portions were small when they were served the lobster was the best I’ve ever eaten. The restaurant also gives you lots of little things in addition to the standard appetizer and salad – we got champagne and a chicken sati before our main course. Dessert was great too, a chocolate soufflé. We left the waitress a $20 tip in addition to the $25 pp we paid to eat there. This is a supper club and they had nice music playing but no one was dancing. We did eat dinner early because we have kids. Lido Deck Restaurant – breakfast was good. There were always eggs to order, scrambled, grits/oatmeal, pancakes/f’toast, toast & bagels, fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries and cold cereal. Things rotated each day so one day it was pancakes, next it was f’toast. B’fast was tasty but I would have like a different variety of fruits – it was always grapefruit, oranges (both peeled), and prunes. Would have liked to get some peaches, plums, nectarines, etc. Because I’ve gotten them on other cruises. The also served the same pastries each day. Lunch was hands down the best meal of the day. There was a deli, rotisserie, chineese/japaneese and an ethnic station – that changed every day. The ethnic station served Middle Eastern, Indian, American, Mexican, Italian, and what else I don’t know. Food was plentiful, with nice desserts; fruit (watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe and grapes). There was a salad bar to fix your own, and the pizza was great. You could order something like 6 different types of pizza, calzones and even Caesar salad. We looked forward to lunch in the Lido Deck. Dinner on the Lido Deck was OK – very limited selection of Entrée’s and dessert but the Pizza and Deli were always working. I can say that it appeared that they served what they had leftover from the previous night Dining Room at the Lido Deck dinner. I really didn’t mind too much but most of the time, it was the entrée’s I didn’t care to eat in the first place. Food was not great on this cruise. Pools – there are 3 pools and a waterslide. We didn’t use the slide cause kids were under 42”and you had to climb to the top deck (which was very hot) to get there. One thing I will caution is that the entire Lido Deck is laid with Tile not Wood, and people – including crewmembers were always slipping. One person we met on the cruise broke his foot because it was so slippery. The Pools were great because they were not too deep so at 5’ I could stand up and still hold on to one of the kids. Other cruises have deep pools, which make it difficult to do this. Lots of kids on this cruise and they were always in the pool where we hung out – the one by the Bandstand/stage – where they Lido Restaurant was. Logistically the only issue I had was there were only 2 bathrooms on the Lido deck. One in the restaurant one at the pool in the middle. So you either slid to the one in the restaurant or you slid and skipped (cause it was SO hot on the floor) to the bathroom at the second pool. The aft pool was for Adults only and I don’t know if any kids were there – when the ship was moving I’m sure it was probably very windy back there so I would imagine it was less used. There was also a sunbathing deck on the top level – for adults only of course – you had to climb 2 sets of steps to get there for those who like to go topless. Not me but you should know it’s there if you’re interested. By the way, the band on the Lido deck was not the best I’ve ever heard. They just seemed out of tune with each other. We did have a great time at the pool though. The kids loved it. You go over the pool railing and there is about 1 foot of water where you could walk around almost the entire pool and/or hop in so the little kids could sit in the 1’ of water and play. They did have a kiddie pool but it was where the entrance to the slide was and remembers too hot to walk there and no protection from the wind. Stateroom – we had an 8a stateroom, which is a partially obstructed balcony. I’m so glad we got this room instead of the 7a, which are partially obstructed French doors. Our stateroom had a normal balcony w/2 chairs and a table but we overlooked the lifeboats. So you could see out but not down. No big deal as far as we were concerned we booked an ocean view guarantee and got upgraded. We had 4 people in our party – hubby, me and 2 kids (2 & 4) so the room was setup as a queen bed, the couch converted to a twin – did not pull out just was not made as a couch, made as a bed. And, the upper berth pulled down from the top. My 4year old felt the upper berth was too high and both kids slept in the twin couch, no big deal they sleep together in a twin at home anyway. It was not that bad w/the 4 of us but when they get older I would get a mini suite because it will be too cramped. Also having 1 bathroom for 4 people was sometimes an issue – good thing I have boys! Getting back to the 7a vs. 8a. the French door rooms literally had the lifeboat in front of it. I personally wouldn’t want that over a standard ocean view. You couldn’t even see the French doors from the lower decks, only the Lifeboats. If you are thinking of doing this, either get the balcony 8a or get the standard ocean view. My room steward was Federico and he was Excellent. We gave him an additional $40 tip. I don’t know if this was enough (even though he got his standard tip but I felt that 10pp was a nice boost. Camp carnival – kids had a good time here. There were activities scheduled for free from 9-12, 2-5, 6-10. Then babysitting was for a fee from 10-3am. Babysitting means you bring your kids to the playroom in their PJ’s and they lay on the floor w/pillows and blankets and watch movies. That was fine. The kids liked the activities and were broken down into 2-5year olds, 6-9, 11+ could come and go as they pleased. They gave us a beeper and beeped us when the kids where not cooperating = meaning my 2yearold was crying. The playroom has bathrooms suited to their size and they serve juice and pretzels as snacks. Kids painted, decorated a tee shirt, or got a backpack (age depending), had scavenger hunts (age depending), watched cartoons, played games, etc. Playroom was well equipped with toys and games and they cleaned the toys nightly!!! My only complaint was with the camp crew. Some girls were nicer than others but with that said, I didn’t get a loving, nurturing vibe from anyone other than Stephanie or Maritza. They would hold the kids if they were crying. The other counselors would let the crying go on for a bit, then page the parents. My kids goto daycare and I’m familiar w/how some people deal w/children. And based on past cruise experiences w/kids (not mine) – they were just there babysitting other than the 2 I mentioned, they were not at all interested in the kids from what I saw!!! That was a disappointment because it’s their vacation too. Again, my kiddies are little and didn’t know the difference except that my 2yrold go on better when the 2 girls above were there, opposed to anyone else. My biggest complaint about this cruise (yes other than the food, band, camp counselors – LOL) was the lack of TV programming. We were only able to get ABC/CBS/NBC NY channels during the day. No satellite TV – so no HBO, TBS, NICK, DISNEY, etc. Realize that you don’t spend much time in the room but there was NOTHING to watch. Even the movies that the ship provided were horrible and old. Like From Justin to Kelly,???? A movie w/Steven Segaul??? They did have PayPerView and that had a great selection if you wanted to cough up 8.99 to only watch a movie 1 time. I was on the fascination last September and we watch the Lord of the Rings, Justin to Kelly, and other good movies for FREE!!! They repeated the movies on the Legend every other day or so. Where on the Fascination, each of the 4 days we watched at least 2 movies. MAJOR disappointment. Entertainment – that was great. Cruise director was fun and so was his staff. They did lots of games at the pool and Follies lounge. The shows were good. They had these two jugglers – Village Idiots and they were great!!! The comedian was on too late – usually at midnight and we were sleeping by then. They have the wait staff dancing every night at dinner which was fun for the kids; and, Funship Freddy was a big hit w/both kids and adults!!! Whoever was in the costume had a great sense of humor!!! Disembarkation – a nightmare only because we got in late – supposed to arrive in NYC at 8am and didn’t dock until 9:30. We didn’t get off the ship until we cleared immigration and everyone who wanted to carry off their luggage was off. So here’s the deal in my opinion and I hope it works for you. Carry off some of your luggage so you get off quick. When we got off the ship – and we didn’t wait for our color – our luggage was waiting in the port. So this means you have to collect your luggage from it’s area, try to find a porter if you need one, then walk to the elevator – which is where all the confusion and bottlenecks are. If we were without the kids, we could have taken the escalator. Our ride was parked on 50th street at a meter and just waited outside the port for us. We walked across the street, kids and luggage, and got in the car. We were not in the car until 12:30 so it took almost 3 hours to get off the ship once we arrived. Did I mention that we arrived at noon to embark? What confusion that must have been for people sailing on 9/12??? Finally, I wouldn’t sail on this ship again. I really didn’t get a good vibe from many of the staff. Most were just doing their job and either didn’t care to go the extra effort and even though it’s a value line before I’ve had great service on Carnival Fascination, Destiny and Triumph!!!! Would I recommend it, yes because the ports of call are great – the beaches in the Virgin Islands are wonderful – though we could have lived without San Juan. But if you’re looking for that great food, extra special service on a carnival cruise – try another boat!!! Good luck l.bocola@verizon.net

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Aug 10, 2004

Western Caribbean

Let me preface my review by stating that this was my first so I had limited expectations. I was on a vacation, celebrating my mothers 70th birthday with 25 other members of my family. We planned a year in advance and spent $43,000.00 so we would have adjoing balcony rooms. We were booked mid ship on the 7th level. I researched and ask many questions as

to what I was going to experience. The embarkation process was slow, but I thought it was normal so I was not bothered by it. We were supposed to sail at 4:00 p.m. so, after we had a mediocre meal at the Unicorn cafe, I went to the top level to view the harbor and to make sure I got a good look as we passed the Statue of Liberty. The ship never moved until 6:00 p.m., two hours late. My family then dressed and went to Truffles for our 8:15 dinner seating. We were place in the rear of the restaurant next to a window. The nosie was so loud that we were actually shouting to hear each other. Our glasses and dinnerware were bouncing across the table. the Captain then made an announcment that there was trouble with one of the engines and it would be shutting down so it could be worked on. He said there was no reason for alarm but that we would be traveling a a slower speed. Dinner took nearly 2 1/2 hours and the service was quite slow. I was not impressed with the menu, the choices, or the quality of food. The next day, at about 12:00 noon, the captain announced that in order to repair the engine, the ship was being redirected to Bermuda. It took 3/12 days to arrive from the time we left port in NYC. There were few excursions available when we arrived in Bermuda on Saturday and we were pretty much left on our own. Everything ,shops, casino and all but one pool. was shut down on the ship. The ship docked on Kings Wharf and everyone had to travel by bus and ferry to get to the more inhabited Hamilton. I found the people quite rude and unfriendly. On Sunday, everything except the beaches was closed. No shopping, either on the Island nor on the ship. We took a bus ride to a beautiful beach and just relaxed for a few hours. Again, the bus drivers and the folks who sold us our tickets were rude and unfriendly. The ship left bermuda on Monday at 12:00 noon and literally traveled in circles until we reached NYC 8:00 a.m on Thursday Morning. My Overall review is not a pleasant one. Few options were offered to us, as we were all given just a $150.00 credit on our sign and sail cards. We had to wait hours to even get to the pursers desk and no one told us that they would fly us home from bermuda. It was only offered to those who got a chance to see the Purser, and they screamed pretty loudly. Passengers were holding meetings, asking people to sign petitions, the Captain was very scarce and questions went unanswered. The food was not very good, and there were very few choices. The room was sufficient but small and as I have nothing to compare it to, I really can't comment. The room stewards were very good, efficient and friendly. Our welcome book advertised a nightly midnite buffet. There was only one. The cruise director was very annoying but other entertainment staff were friendly and tried to make our unpleasant experience a little more bearable. I was extremely disappointed overall and if I ever decide to go on another cruise, it will not be with carnival. CBS News dubbed it the Cruise from Hell, which I find quite approriate.

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Aug 10, 2004

Western Caribbean

I will never take another Carnival Cruise again!!! Due to a failure in the propulsion system out itinerary was froced to be changed from San Juan, St Thomas, Tortola to 3 days in Bermuda. There were no plans to make restitution to the passenges for a ruined vacation. We were give $150 each in credit on the sign & sail card, First thing this was not from the compay

it was our port fees returned to us. 2nd it was put on our sign & sail cards so it was used onboard the ship giving Carnival more money, 3rd due to the reduction of speed we conserved fuel and thus made the cost of this trip considerably less for Carnival Cruise Lines. We have been in contact with the Cruise Line but at this time no satisfaction has been given. The shows were 2nd rate, the activites need more preparation & thought to make them more convienent and available to the passengers. The service staff made maximum effort to have the passengers enjoy their time on the ship. It is with all this dissappointment in mind that I again state I will never travel Carnival Cruise Lines again.  

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Aug 10, 2004

Western Caribbean

I am completely disgusted with the trip I took along with my 24 family members. We paid $1,750.00 per person to see three ports of call in the eastern Caribbean (Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Tortola). We were sent to Bermuda because the ship's electronic propulsion motor broke the night of sailing out of NY, in which we left 2 hours late from the dock.

The next morning we awoke to watch the ship travel 12 knots instead of 24! Then while out by the pool with my family, waiting for the ONE pool bar service guy to make his rounds, we hear the Captain make an announcement from the Bridge that our destination has been changed due to the motor being broken! (Word is he had known since the week before that it was not functioning correctly) We docked on Saturday at Bermuda (King's Wharf) and then on Sunday basically everything in Bermuda was closed in Hamilton. On Monday we had to be back on the ship by 11:30. But we had no time to do anything that day because the information booth to buy tickets for bus/ferry was closed until 9am. So we can consider that a wasted day in Bermuda. There were few excursions offered from Carnival for Bermuda due to the fact that Bermuda wasn't expecting us and the city is closed on Sundays. (The only thing offered from Carnival was a $150.00 credit per person. That is unacceptable. We didn't pay all this money to dock at one port for the entire trip and spend extra time at sea (circling to waste time) on a ship in which they refer to themselves as the "fun ship".) As a past cruiser on other cruise lines, I was completed disappointed and bored with the on ship activities. Our family considered flying home to NJ from Bermuda but when we went to the purser's desk for information on how to get to the airport and getting help to arrange a flight we were told that Carnival is not responsible for this and we would have to figure it out on our own. Excursions: Due to the fact that Bermuda wasn't ready for us to be there, Carnival didn't offer too many excursions (as there were too many offered the last time I was in Bermuda). Not to mention, there wasn't one excursion offered at anything less than $42.00/person! That is outrageous. There wasn't much you could do unless you were out researching trips for yourself. I also found the Bermudians to be quite rude. I guess from there point of view, they really weren't suppose to be working, especially on Sunday! Food and Service: Our first night experience was horrible. The vibration was so bad, we had to leave because our silverware and glasses fell on the floor. Overall, the food was below average. (Considering the idea that the average cruiser gains 4-8lbs on the trip and i gained 0) The waiters were great, bar service in Truffles was terrible. If you chanced ordering a drink, your dinner was served before you got the drink. The buffet food was nothing to be desired. Room service was pretty speedy and better than some of the buffet foods. Cabin Stewards: Awesome! We can’t say enough about Ingkorn and Ernesto! Party Time: There was none! On any past cruise I have been on, there was always parties out by the pool, basically every night. Well, not on the Legend! One night they had the band play, and there was a buffet displayed. After every show at night, (Comedians sucked, and two of the ship's shows were good), you had to find your own thing to do! Whether it be in a bar, or a club--> in which they only played kid's rap music, there wasn't much else to do, unless you were planning to play in the casino. Gala Night: started at 12:30- but at 1:30 still not all the people in line to get in (including our family)had the doors shut in our face by the service staff in the dining hall. We were told it was over, with no other explanation! Gym: They had a nice set up of about 8 treadmills: too bad 3 of them were broken the whole trip! So you had to wait around to get on a treadmill. The weight room area was set up nicely. Game Room: My younger cousins came back to tell us that there were 4 games broken and one game had all its wires exposed. There weren't any employees supervising the game room, so there seemed to always be older teenagers horsing around in there. Overall: This was the worst Ship I have vacationed on. Unfortunately we had some first-time cruisers with our group, who say they never want to cruise again. We were also there celebrating my grandmother's 70th birthday, which was very disappointing! I hope that any who reads this and was also on that trip, write your letter to the Carnival office in Florida asking for your money back!

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By John_CR

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Aug 10, 2004

Western Caribbean

I don’t know what to say first, the good news or the bad news. Well the bad news first. The Legend was scheduled to depart New York at 4 PM but left past 6pm. That’s not even the worst. I woke up the next morning to hear that the engine had stop working and that our cruising speed was reduced to half. The captain said we would have to skip the Island of

Puerto Rico, Tortola, and St.Thomas and we would have to travel to Bermuda instead. I was mad because last year I took a cruise aboard the Carnival Pride to Bermuda and had stayed there for 3 1/2 days and now I was going again for another 2 1/2 days. Carnival compensated us with $150 per person and also told guest that if they wished to leave in Bermuda they would pervide the airfare plus a 5 day free cruise. When the Captain announced that message during the day and at night it was Captain's night 3 men attacked the Captain and a mob of almost 300 people crowded around the pursers desk demanding a refund. Everyone on the ship was appalled on the decision that the captain made but I think it was a good one because of the many hurricanes and tropical storms in the Caribbean. Overall I would have rated the cruise a 4.5 out of 10. After Bermuda witch in fact it took 3 1/2 days to get there from New York the engine was fixed and we had a smooth ride home. Now the part that really pissed me off was that the captain knew about the problem about the engine for about a week before the cruise has even started. That was the bad news, the good news was the service was great, everyone was nice that worked there and the weather was great. So I hope that everyone that booked this cruise would have a great time when they sail to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Tortola because we took the hit to fix the engine so you can have a better time over there.

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Aug 10, 2004

Western Caribbean

We chose the New York Port to sail from because some of the 25 members in our party do not prefer to fly. The ship was beautiful when we walked on, but beauty is not worth anything if you do not get the trip you paid for. We paid for 3 Ports of Call, (PR,StThomas & Tortola)The Legend staff knew the ship had an engine problem but let us board without telling

the passengers. We should have been given the choice to board knowing we would not get to the Ports of Call we paid for, or we should have been given the opportunity to not board and get a full refund. However, they took us out to sea and then told us the next day over a loud speaker, as if you could understand or hear what they are telling us. I never received anything in writing regarding the change of itinery, but was brought to Bermuda to make ship repairs. The island was very expensive and not very friendly to Americans. Then we headed home and because the ship was repaired, we made circles in the ocean to waste time, since they were not allowed to get into the NY port early. Will never go on a Carnival Cruise again due to the fact that they seem to have no interest in my situation that I paid for a High Budget vacation and got a Low Budget vacation that was forced on me and my family. There was nothing open on the ship while in port for the 2 1/2 days and there was not enough for the older teens to do onboard. Very disappointed and dissatisfied customer.

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Aug 10, 2004

Bermuda

August 31, 2004 Dear So and So : I am writing this letter on behalf of my family and self, regarding our recent “disaster cruise” on the Carnival ship “Legend.” Our cruise took place August 11th through the 19th to San Juan, Tortolla, and St. Thomas. Our cabin numbers were 4139, 4141, 4143. Our complaint reference number is

00211g567a. This was our family’s third cruise with Carnival. We had pleasant experiences on our past two cruises and felt comfortable recommending your cruise line to my wife’s sister, husband and their two daughters. We had to plan this trip for two years due to the complexity of two families structuring their summer vacations together. We were eagerly awaiting our sail date. We left port late with no explanation as to why. According to the Captain’s announcement the next day, the ship had developed engine problems at approximately 300 -350 miles out of port. As a consequence we were told we were being diverted to Bermuda. Our family sailed there last year and had no intentions of returning there. We stood and looked at each other in shock and disbelief. We followed the crowds to the Pursers desk and waited for over an hour in line to speak with someone to obtain information about filing a formal complaint regarding the change of itinerary. We were treated rudely, with disrespect, and little or no regard was offered for our personal situation. Our vacation was ruined and we were expected to just accept what had happened and enjoy the rest of the cruise, “UNBELIEVABLE.” We were told that we were a minority, and that very few passengers were upset with the change in itinerary. The long constant stream of people in line at the Pursers desk, for hours, told a much different story. We docked in Bermuda and stayed only two and one half days out of an eight day cruise that we paid over 1,400.00 per person for. We were situated at the far end of the island which left us having to pay additional charges to leave the dock area to get to town and back. We were informed after disembarking from Bermuda that the Ships engine had been “miraculously” repaired while in port at Bermuda. During the entire cruise we met no one that was pleased with the change in itinerary. To add insults to injury, we were credited a mere 150.00 to our sail and sign accounts. All attempts we made to discuss our dissatisfaction with ship personnel were rebuffed, minimized, and put off. We were told that we would receive a response to our complaint within 48 hours. None was ever received. We were finally given a hand written note by staff at the Pursers desk with a telephone number to guest relations on our last day aboard ship following repeated requests. During the return voyage to NYC we ended up traveling in circles out at sea. We were told that there was a hazard at sea noticed by the Captain who circled the ship around to investigate. Since when do cruise ships’ act as the Coast Guard. A simple radio dispatch could have taken care of things. It left us wondering that if the Captain had time to do this why had he not offered to spend more time in Bermuda, rather than at sea. Needless to say, we are outraged and extremely disappointed as customers. In addition, we feel compelled to report our observation that the qualities of the food at the buffets on lido deck have significantly declined as compared with our last two cruises with Carnival. Our experience in the main dining room for our evening dinner was disappointing at best. The waiters were waiting on so many tables that we had to wait long periods of time for service. We felt uncomfortable making requests as it seemed to disturb the waiters. In contrast the wait staffs on our two previous cruises were cordial and friendly. They had time to chat briefly with us and were readily available to provide service. It seems to us that a lot of corners have been cut at the customers expense, and it SHOWS. I am thoroughly embarrassed to have recommended Carnival Cruise Lines to my extended family, and am deeply disappointed that Carnival Cruise chose to treat us in such an indignant manner. We feel that Carnival should have had the decency and respect for it’s current “?” Valued Customers” and potential future customers to have done the honorable thing and returned to NYC port and reimbursed its passengers fully for a future cruise. Instead we were taken to Bermuda at our expense and against our will. It is my opinion as well as a majority of those I spoke with on board ship that we were kept on board ship in order that we would be compelled to spend more money on board. In summary, it is not our fault your ship had an engine problem. We did not ask to be brought to Bermuda. I am therefore requesting a full refund “not credit” on behalf of our entire cruise party. We would prefer to resolve this matter amicably. If this is not your wish, we intend to pursue this matter with legal counsel, including newspaper and television exposure of what transpired during our trip on your cruise line. Sincerely yours, Timothy Chadbourne Cabin 4141 Elizabeth Chadbourne Cabin 4141 David Dalton Cabin 4143 Jacqueline Dalton Cabin 4143 Jamie Dalton Cabin 4139 Jennifer Dalton Cabin 4139 Stephanie Prigione Cabin 4139

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Jul 25, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

Embarkation We were scheduled to sail out of NY at 4PM on Monday, July 26 to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and Tortola. On Sunday, July 25, when calling to confirm, we learned that the ship had sailed to Bermuda to drop off a sick passenger, and that there would be an 8 hour delay. We were told that each passenger would receive a $20 credit as compensation for

the delay. I called Carnival to express my outrage at a measly $20 credit for 8 hours of lost sailing time, lunch and a show. I spoke to 3 different employees and was told there was nothing they could do and that I must speak to the purser on board which I never did. When we arrived in NY the Legend was still letting passengers off from the return trip from Bermuda so we were routed to a different terminal. This was not the normal procedure and as a result check-in was a complete nightmare. There were 2500 people, half of us standing, in the terminal waiting for their number to be called so they could walk about 200 yards to the terminal where the ship was docked. We waited about an hour to an hour and a half in this terminal. Once at the other terminal there were more long lines resulting in about another hour of waiting to board the ship. Once on board, dinner was being served buffet style in the Unicorn Café on the Lido deck. It was about 11 PM at this point. Picture for yourself 2500 starving people in buffet lines all at once. It was chaotic to say the least. The ship finally sailed at 1:45 AM, a full 9 hours and 45 minutes late. Of course, we all stayed up to watch the ship sail past the Statue of Liberty. I must have fallen asleep sometime between 2 and 2:30 AM. I remember waking up at exactly 5:30 AM to some pretty serious rocking. Being the nervous traveler that I am, I could not get back to sleep, so I got dressed and wandered the ship. We learned on Tuesday that the Captain – Marco Nagura – was attempting to make up for the 10 hour delay by traveling faster than normal so we could arrive at Puerto Rico on time. We sailed for almost 3 full days at 24 knots into a 20 – 25 MPH headwind. As we walked through the casino on the Promenade deck you could see the ocean through the windows. It looked and felt like we were on a Navy destroyer en route to the Persian Gulf! As a result, the ship rocked the entire time making many people very uncomfortable and setting the tone for the entire trip. I seriously considered flying home from Puerto Rico as I could not stand the rocking any longer. The Islands -- Excursions We arrived in Puerto Rico at 6 PM which was still 2 hours later than scheduled. By the time we exited the ship it was getting dark – Puerto Rico does not observe daylight savings time. What a bust! We planned on just walking around a bit at this point since it was dark and there seemed to be no point in doing much else. This is when we came across a wonderful tour guide named Angelo who offered us a 2 hour tour for $10 per person and no charge for kids. We took him up on it and we were happy that we did. Angelo gave us a 2 hour narrated tour of Old San Juan, the airport, capital building, and many other sights. It was well worth the $70 paid for 11 people. If you take this cruise, make sure you ask for Angelo at the terminal when you arrive in Puerto Rico. For the first time in 3 days, I felt good about the trip. The next stop was St. Thomas. We wanted to take a tour of the island as well as go to the beach for a couple of hours. We exited the ship and spoke to the taxi drivers to see what they were offering. (Let me say here that if you want to take an excursion, you would be wise not to book it through the ship unless you want to pay 3-4 times more than if you book it directly.) We spoke to a wonderful tour guide name Godfrey of Godfrey’s Island Tours (www.godfreytoursvi.com) who offered us 2 hours of shopping, 2 hours at the beach of our choice, and a 2 hour tour of St. Thomas all for $20 per person. He was great and this excursion was one of the highlights of our trip. On Saturday we arrived in Totola. We wanted to take an excursion to Virgin Gorda to see the Baths (http://www.b-v-i.com/baths.htm). Carnival was charging $89 per person. I got off the ship early and asked the locals about other excursions. They directed me to Speedy’s. It was about a 10 minute walk (or $2/person by taxi). For $25 per adult and $17 per child they provided a round trip in a 215 person catamaran with air conditioning and color TV plus round trip taxi fair to and from the Baths once on Virgin Gorda. So instead of the $450 it would have cost me through Carnival, I spent $107 with Speedy for the same trip. (http://www.speedysbvi.com/) The Baths are a natural wonder and I highly recommend this excursion. The Ship The decor is quite gaudy with annoying urns everywhere. I couldn’t help but think that there was one reserved for each of our ashes as we sped to Puerto Rico at warp speed. These are the kinds of things one thinks of at 2 AM when sleep deprivation kicks in. For a new ship it was quite noisy. It creaked badly, it vibrated constantly even on the return trip when sailing at a normal pace. The beds vibrated. Everything vibrated. Truffles Restaurant vibrated so badly that the dishes rattled. There is no escape from cigarette smoke. In this day and age, with all the information about cancer, I am amazed at the number of people who still smoke. The Promenade Deck (deck 2) is a smoker’s paradise. This is where all the clubs, lounges, and casino reside. The Lido Deck (deck 9) is the other main hangout. This is where the pools and 24 hour food is as well as the buffet. Smoking is permitted on the starboard side. However, seating is limited and often this is the only place you can find a seat. There is a wonderful gym on deck 9 fully stocked with aerobic equipment and weight machines. I made good use of the elliptical machine as well as all the weight machines. It’s a shame that more guests did not use these facilities given that about 80% of all passengers on this ship were obese – men, women, and children alike. I was somewhat embarrassed of this as the entire crew (900 +) were all quite thin and in shape. They also happened to be non-American. I couldn’t help but imagine what they thought of us fat, gluttonous Americans. The casino was ample with 1 craps table, several blackjack tables, Caribbean poker, and a very large number of slot machines. Drinks I rarely drink alcohol and therefore will not comment on these beverages, except to say that there were a large number served. Unless you are hopelessly addicted to soda, DO NOT BUY the beverage card. Lemonade, iced tea, hot chocolate and coffee are available 24 hours a day for free! You may want to bring bottled water on board as the water on the ship is heavily chlorinated. I brought about 18 bottles on board and drank most of them. Food Despite all the negative reviews about the food, I thought the food was very good! The crew served 10,000 meals per day and to their credit did a superb job at it. We ate at the breakfast and lunch buffet daily. Breakfast consisted of eggs, bacon, sausage, muffins, toast, cereal, pancakes, French toast, and fresh fruit. Lunch was a little different each day due to the ethnic station and the daily menu variation in the Asian corner (my personal favorite). Each day, pizza and burgers are available. The deli served up a great selection of sandwiches and wraps. There is a salad bar and magnificent lineup of cold salads each day. What amazed me is the number of people eating burgers each day. Why would you eat a burger that you can get at any McDonald’s any day of the week when all these fine foods were available? We ate dinner most nights at Truffles restaurant. Our table was in a small room outside the main restaurant. While we benefited from not having the extreme engine vibrations, the service was mediocre at best. Without exception, we were the last ones out of the restaurant each night. The young lady who served our drinks also served the other 10 tables in the room and needless to say drink service was very poor. Our waiter, a nice fellow from Jamaica, was as slow as molasses. Enough said. The food was good but not great. Service Except for Truffles, service elsewhere was top-notch! The cabin stewards were fabulous and the staff at the Unicorn Café (buffet restaurant) worked their tails off. Kudos to all of them! Entertainment Each night there was a different show in the Follies Theater. The shows were excellent. “Jazz Hot” was a superb song and dance performance by the Legend singers and dancers. “Take II” was even better as the Legend singers and dancers performed songs from Hollywood movies including James Bond, the Blues Brothers, Rocky Horror, and more. The kids loved the Village Idiot’s comedic juggling act. The cruise director doubles as a magician and did a nice job. Even karaoke night, while sometimes painful, was a lot of fun. There were bands and performers throughout the ship. Each was entertaining. We particularly enjoyed the Spanish band in Satchmo’s Lounge when they played their rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” called “Stairway to Heaben”. Disembarking The return trip was uneventful until we got the news that Hurricane Alex had formed off the coat of South Carolina and the terror alert was elevated in New York. Of course, we were on a collision course with both! Needless to say I slept only 2 hours that night. Fortunately we stayed ahead of Alex as it didn’t begin to pick up speed until we docked. Getting out of NY was the usual mess with 2500 people squeezed into a small space in the street. Conclusion If not for the 10 hour delay that led to the warp speed journey of Captain Nagura to Puerto Rico, the threat of Hurricane Alex, and the heightened terror alert in New York, this would have been a great trip; instead it was just a good trip.

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By John_CR

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Jul 1, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

Let me preface this review by stating that our cruise was booked as a last minute vacation plan only one week prior to sailing. Although it was our third cruise, it was our first time on Carnival. Prior to booking the trip I read just about every review I could find on-line. Admittedly, our expectations for Carnival were fairly low but we booked it nonetheless

based on the fact that we wanted to leave on July 2nd and we wanted to sail out of New York. Having two weeks to reflect on the trip I’d say overall we had a very good time, however, I’m not sure if we would chose Carnival again. That said, I’ll try to sum up the positives and negatives. Negatives: As to be expected, the embarkation/debarkation process was tortuous. Like we had done on our last cruise (NCL Dawn), we booked a room with an extended balcony (Deck 7 mid ship). We must have been spoiled by NCL as the room on the Legend seemed cramped and simply not as good (particularly the bathroom). Overall, I’d say the ship was pretty nice but I couldn’t help noticing things that bothered me considering it was only 1½ yrs old. First of all, despite the ocean being remarkably calm the entire week, the ship creeked as if there were 30-foot seas. I’d hate to imagine what it would be like in rough weather. Also, although none of us could put our finger on why it seemed this way, the ship felt extremely claustrophobic. The ceilings were very low and most of the rooms were dark with small windows. As for the décor, it was a bit tacky and reminded us of one giant casino. Unfortunately, we constantly compared everything to the Dawn, including the other people on board. Finally, the itinerary was anything but great – a ½ day stop in San Juan, a ½ day in Tortola and a full day in St. Thomas. Interestingly, Carnival made no mention on its web site that the ship tendered in St. Thomas which cut at least 3 hrs out of our time on the island. Positives: Carnival definitely tries to give the ship a lively atmosphere. Sometimes it was a bit over the top but for the most part it was fun. We definitely had low expectations about the food after reading many of the reviews. Surprisingly, the food was very good and the staff on the boat was even better. This was true for both the main dining room and the buffets. To be honest, the staff on the entire ship was very good, particularly for the kids program. Our four year old definitely had a great time at Camp Carnival and it seemed like it was well run. The Spa and the Casino were also both pretty nice. Overall, our cruise experience was positive. It definitely helped that the weather was perfect and the ocean was totally calm. We’ve sailed out of NYC before and know how rough the ocean can be. The Legend was nice but we expected more from a new ship. If I had to grade the trip I’d give it a B.

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Jun 7, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

If you have the chance to cruise out of New York, do it! That experience alone made the trip worthwhile. We were very impressed with the ship itself, she's lovely. Never once did we feel crowded by too many cruisers, there was plenty of space to be found all throughout the ship. The food however, was a different story. I felt it was lacking flavor in every meal

from morning until dessert in the evening. I also felt the staff (dining room and lido deck) were not very quick to offer assistance or to please the guests by going out of their way to extend great service. While in the dining room for breakfasts, coffee cups often went dry and people at the table had to flag down a waiter for refills. At one point, the woman next to me called to a waiter for jelly (her bagel was brought to her without any sort of condiments)...he turned over his shoulder to reply with, "What you want"? I'm sure he didn't intend it to be rude, but the dining staff has much to learn about serving guests in a way that is expected while in the dining room. Isn't this the reason why we bypass the buffet line upstairs in the lido area?! Our room was the same size as our last cruise, yet this one seemed much larger. We were in 7302, a balcony cabin in the aft section of the ship. I believe the layout of a cabin makes all the difference in how spacious the room will feel. Our cabin steward (Cecil) was great and very attentive to making up our room in a timely manner. I also loved the fact that Carnival provided toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, small lotions, breath mints, floss, and more. I thought it was a nice touch, I’ll know not to pack those items next time! All in all, it was a great ship with very nice amenities. My only complaints were the food, lack of service by certain staff members, and the “Funvision” movie selection was lousy. I’ve been spoiled by cruising on another line that had a movie theater with 3 selections of films to view each day. I think it’s a nice way to break up “sea days” if you don’t want to be outside all day. But if entertainment on the tv/movie screen is not important to you while at sea, it won’t be a factor for you! It was a great trip for the price, and a beautiful ship to be on.

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May 30, 2004

Southern Caribbean

I definitely had a great time on the cruise. AWESOME! Puerto Rico: It was kinda boring. I'm sure there are great parts of the island but we just stayed around and walked on our own to the local stores and took pictures from the top of San Cristobel fortress.. It was a pretty view. It was nice to sit in the hot tub with no one else on deck as the

sun was setting. I guess everyone else was out and about on the island since we were docked there til midnight. St. Thomas: Megan's bay was beautiful. It rained for about 5 minutes and stopped. The safari bus ride was crazy. Our driver was nuts. The bushwhacker drink is pretty good. The water was beautiful. Tortola/ Virgin Gorda: We opted to do the Virgin Gorda tour. Let me just say that THANK GOD we did!!! WOWWWWWW... the Island has 4000 people living on it. They have a 0% crime rate. such a lovely Island. We went to Devil's Bay beach. Absolutely beautiful. I suggest you do the Virgin Gorda tour if you are in shape and can handle a little bit of climbing and crawling. Once we got to Devil's Bay beach, we had a choice. You could stay on the main beach, or if you were "athletic with no back problems" you could do the 15 minute hike through the "baths" to get to the 2nd beach which is by far 1000 times more beautiful than any beach I have ever been to. The "Baths" are a formation of rocks with little coves and caves and stuff. Really freakin cool. Nice picture opportunity. I suggest to bring a disposable underwater camera.. well maybe 2. You can take pictures inside the baths standing in knee deep water, or once you finally get to the 2nd beach, you can take magnificent underwater pictures of sting rays and fish. The sting rays are more out in the deeper waters. You can swim in between huge boulders and take pictures of fish. So beautiful. The water is very salty so you can't swim too deep because you float very well. I highly highly highly recommend this tour. I would post a picture of the beach if I could! lol Anyways.. about the actual ship. We hung out by the adult pool in the back most of the time. The ice cream is great. The 24 hour pizza comes in handy lol. All the staff was EXCELLENT!!!! I couldn't say it any better. They were the best waiters and bartenders and room service I have ever encountered. And.. might I add... the frozen drinks are phenomenal. I hardly ever drink, but the Dirty Banana and this drink called something "kiss"? i forget what it's called. one word. YUM! enjoy your time!

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May 30, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

I first want to say that Carnival Cruise Line (fun ship Legend) was one of the best cruises I have ever experienced. There were a couple of things that I did not like and they are. They can take the Puerto Rico tour off their tour list. It was terrible. The tour consisted of a 45 minute tour of 'construction sites' The 'construction sites were of condos

and hotels going up. We were then taken to a 'fort' and left there with no one to tell us about the fort. The machines that tell you about the fort were in 'spanish' therefore we did not know anything about the 'fort'. We were then taken to a district to shop. So many people told me that I should have seen a lot more than what we did. I was so very dissapointed, and I have to tell you that this particular tour should be deleted from the list of tours. It was a waste of money and time. We should have stayed on board and spent the money on some of the wonderful drinks served by the bar. The tours to ST. Thomas and Tortola were wonderful. We enjoyed them both very very much. It should be noted that it would have been nice to stay in either St.Thomas or Tortola until 12 midnight rather than staying that late in P.R. We would have loved to stay on the beach a lot longer, it was paradise. My other complaint was the food in the dining room, I thought there was a lot of room for improvement. The food in the cafe and the grill was a lot better than the food in dining room. The quality of food in the dining room was poor, the fish was old and the meals were not very good. All in all we did have a lovely trip and would recommend it to anyone who asks. There was something to do all the time, ie., during the day and in the evening. We enjoyed the shows every night, and having an early show is a nice feature for those of us who retire early.

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By Lori_CR

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May 30, 2004

St Thomas

We sailed out of NY on May 31st for an 8 night cruise on the Legend. Embarktation was very crowded because we got there at prime time. Next time we will wait until an hour or so to board. Everything went smoothly, no problems as we had all our paper work in order. We were in cabin 8225, room was very clean. We were very happy with our room

staff, always a smile and a friendly greeting. Throughout the week, they learned our names and always greeted our daughter and asked her how her day was going. Really nice group of employees. The food was great, we had a waiter who got to know us, how we like our food prepared, and knew what drinks we wanted before we even asked for them. We got a kick out of how he flipped open the napkin and layed it on our lap. I had steak most of the time and I am very picky about how my steak is done and I can tell you that I did not have one complaint about the formal dining room at all. A+ The food in the Unicorn Cafe was good although I didn't really eat that much during the day. Daughter LOVED the never ending supply of French fries. The entertainment was good in the follies lounge. We had a great time with all the game show type games we were able to participate in, they have some really fun people running those shows. After participating in the shows, you can go back to your cabin and watch yourself on tv. We also had a blast doing the karoake. Ports of call: San Juan-nothing to do, kind of a "get off & check things out" place. St. Thomas- shopped & got a nice peridot ring (good price) and then took a taxi to Coki (sp) beach, had the BEST time just snorkeling on our own. Was very surprised to see a lot of junky places along the way to the beach, cars on blocks without wheels, goats running loose on the road, but none the less it was a positive experience. Tortola-was nice. We took a snorkeling excursion, it was fun for the most part, it's just that we saw more fish when we went on our own in St. Thomas. Okay, now I've been thinking about how I want to write this next part, you need to keep in mind that this was my own personal experience. You can have 100 different people write 100 different reviews, what might be no problem to some people, could be a major problem to others. I can tell you that I personally had a VERY MAJOR problem. The smoking on this cruise was so unbelieveable, we just could not get over how bad it was. They say there are "designated smoking areas", what a bunch of bunk! I could not escape it. EVERY single night club on the ship is smoking. The casino is smoking, you have to walk through smoke filled areas to get to a non smoking area. I waited in the lobby while my husband gambled in the casino, can you believe a guy came up next to me and lit up a cigarette? I went to the pursers desk and nothing was done about it. I had gone to the pursers desk the day before and complained about not having anywhere for a non smoker to go & dance or gamble. The purser was nice and helpful but that didn't stop things from getting even worse. We got on an elevator with another couple, I smelled smoke and said to the man, "do you have a cigarette in your hand (he was trying to hide it) he said "yes" I told him that I'd really appreciate if you wouldn't do that, my daughter who is standing right behind you has asthma", he said "sorry" and moved on. Could NOT use our balcony at all. Of course we were surrounded with people who smoke, one privacy divider was fine, it went from ship wall to the balcony, the other one was placed underneath this big metal arch that would not allow the privacy wall to go all the way to the arch leaving about a 7" gap in one spot and another chunk of it was missing toward the bottom. Of course we were stuck next to a chain smoking couple who used their balcony most of the time they were on the ship. I can honestly tell you that everytime I tried to sit out there, they were there smoking and I'd have to go back in. I got NO USE at all out of my balcony! The lido deck was a joke, there were people on all sides of us smoking, it was like a requirement to be on that deck. Back by the adult pool the security people showed me the "non smoking" spot, I said "you mean right there where those people are smoking?" they said "yes" and nothing was done, they just turn their heads and ignore it. There were wet cigarette butts on the deck to the hot tub, there were people sitting on the edge of the pool smoking, I even got to watch one idiot use the bins that they put the dirty dishes in as his own personal ashtray. I was also treated to cigar smoke throughout random areas of the ship, which I think they are supposed to do only in designated areas also. We were so upset by all the smoke we actually talked about disembarktation.  We would have had to get off in San Juan and then fly home and part of the reason we took THIS cruise is because we didn't have to fly. (We don't fly). At times, I felt like I was in a floating ashtray. I was and am VERY upset that we paid for the same use of the ship that the smokers did and we couldn't partake in anything that didn't incude smoke. When we got home, I called Carnival and asked them about the video they sent me before the cruise, didn't show true reality. Why weren't there any people smoking in it? Why didn't they show wet floating cigarette butts on the deck of the hot tub, people smoking in the elevator, crushed butts on the steps on Medussas Lair during a childrens "get to know" party? I got pretty much of a monotone response, "we'll make note of it and forward it to the offices". So pretty much-big deal, we have your money, move on. I will move on for sure. I thought I did my home work, but I guess I didn't. We should've driven to FL and taken the Paradise. Maybe other cruise ships are like this, I don't know, but I can tell you that I will find out more about non smoking areas BEFORE I cruise again. I ignorantly thought that by 2004 that there'd surely have to be SOMETHING/ANYTHING offered to non smokers. Sorry if this review offends anyone, this was my experience. I will live and learn.

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May 14, 2004

Western Caribbean

I am sad to say my experience was not that great. I have been on Carnival Line about 6 times. I have traveled on Celebrity, Norweign and Princess never had a problem. I felt the service in main dinning room whether it be morning or evening was not acceptable. The fodd in the evening was not up to standards. We had to pay extra for the Golden Fleece Steak House

to get a meal which was what we were used to. At breakfast the waiters seemed rushed and over- worked. They may be spread them too thin. You know who suffers when that happens (the clients). I am currently losing time from work as I picked up some kind of Virus, which is not know at this time. I had 102 Temperature and everythign else that goes with it. All my test didn't come back yet, so doctors do not know what they are dealing with. I did find the ship was not as clean as others I had been on???? However our stateroom was clean. I am very disappointed after speding $2,700.00 and I am sorry that I have such bad memories. Will I travel on Carnival again? NO NO

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May 14, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

It was FANTASTIC! The Ship is beautiful, the entertainment in the Follies Lounge ... aka Broadway, the food couldn't be better! The Raggae Band on the Lido Deck was WONDERFUL. Does anybody know the NAME of that band? And, of course, the Captain and Crew receive a 5-star review from this passenger. Only one problem, I was not provided wheel chair

service, as promised, to embark and disembark. More wheelchairs need to be made available. Otherwise, if it's Fun and Beauty you're looking for, this is the cruise for you.

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Apr 28, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

My fiancee and I sailed on the Carnival Legend on April 29, 2004. It was an eight-night cruise from NYC to San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, USVI; and Tortola, BVI. There were a total of four days at sea, which we loved. I have been on 15 cruises. I have sailed with RCCL, Celebrity, Princess, and the now-gone Chandris line. This was my first cruise with

Carnival, chosen primarily for the way this one sailing could fit into my schedule. This review is all about the ship. We stayed in Cabin 4228, which is a Category 11--almost top of the line. 4228 is an unusual Category 11 stateroom: it is located on the aft corner of the ship. There are two such staterooms on each of five decks. Other "normal" Category 11 staterooms can be found elsewhere on the ship. I will list my disappointments first and follow them with positive points about the experience. MINUSES: The layout of 4228 was very odd and congested, giving a closed-in, undersized feeling to the cabin. There was no sense of roominess that I was expecting with a category 11. The bedroom was tiny, the living room was even smaller, and the whole stateroom had a huge wall and dressing area smack dab in the middle of it. I have never seen a cabin like this one, and I have seen a great many. I almost burst into tears when I first saw it. (An ordinary stateroom with balcony had more breathing room.) The small walk-in closet had the sort of cheap-hotel hangers that went into their plastic units on the hanging pole. This wouldn't be so bad except that there were three hangers per hanging "thing"--dresses were smashed together.... There was no in-room internet access (at any price!). This is important to me, and I foolishly assumed that a ship launched in 2002 would have it, based on my experience with other cruise lines. We arranged ahead of time to have two bottles of vintage champagne awaiting us on embarkation. They were there---chilling in two cheesy plastic ice buckets that had the Coors Light Beer sports logo on them. We appealed to our dining room waiter to procure a metal bucket for subsequent stateroom champagne orders. The bathroom had no drinking glasses or holders to put them in. Our suite had a whirlpool tub. The tub had sliding glass doors rather than a push-away shower curtain, so I felt closed-in. While in the whirlpool tub, I realized that the system was still riddled with the slimy, brown-colored bath oil scummy stuff from previous users. Three fresh-water changes and flushing of the system didn't help. One would need a lot of bubble bath to disguise it. I did not attempt any more baths. There was a Rubbermaid bathmat in the tub rather than permanent treads. The minibar was not restocked well throughout the cruise. The in-room television station selection was poor compared to other lines; no CNN or other world/headline news. The Purser Staff seemed weak. They fielded the question about better champagne buckets unsuccessfully. The next morning I appealed to them that I was awakened by loud rock music at 7:30AM coming from the dining room below me (warm-up music for the staff prepping for an 8AM open-seating breakfast); their solution was to inform security. In a robotic way, they simply attached noise complaints to the security staff, instead of figuring out the source of the noise: their colleagues! I went myself to the dining room at 7:45AM and respectfully asked the Assistant Maitre d' to lower the volume. He couldn't believe it was a problem. Thankfully, at 8AM the room opened for breakfast, the music changed to some soothing morning music which did not carry upstairs, and I got some more sleep! For dinnertime, the dining room was understaffed. Waiters tooked the orders in a hurry and disappeared to do battle in the galley; assistants were rarely seen; cocktail staff was thin; wine stewards didn't exist. The food was good in relation to the whole of everything I experienced, however, the deserts in every venue at every meal were the weakest I've ever seen/tasted. We found the overall decor of the ship to be unattractive, garish, and constructed of cheap-looking materials. Carpeting is sparse; marble/composite materials are the norm for the flooring everywhere. Many of the ship's lounges are merely seats along a through-walkway. Traffic tromps through as others try to enjoy some piano music or a jazz trio. The jazz trio that was to be playing in the Odyssey Bar was on its own odyssey for the cruise: absent for the first half, on a break more times than playing for the second portion of the cruise. Very disappointing. In general the nightlife was inadequate; there are few choices of places to go for an after dinner drink and a bit of good music. I had heard that these were the Fun Ships. THE PLUSSES: There are laundry rooms, with iron and ironing boards on this ship! Bring your own detergent or purchase with quarters. There is a wonderful TEAK! promenade deck, which, with a little imagination and door-opening, could be considered an almost-wrap-prom. (Go through the Enchanted Forest.) I wish there were deck chairs! Sigh. There is a 24-hour Pizza Station with Caesar Salads. Ice cream is 24-hour too! Every meal in the Unicorn Cafe is a good thing because of all of the variety and the infrequent lines. I really appreciated the excellent salad bar off to one side. There are over six food stations.... Hot chocolate machines in the Unicorn Cafe!......Elsewhere on board there is a formal Tea done several times during the cruise; the set-up looked nice, but I wasn't able to attend. :( Plusses for Strange Stateroom #4228: Monstrously huge balcony with a teak deck, good deck chairs (although plastic) and lounge chairs, and a first: water spigots on the verandah useful for doing one's own cleaning of the plexi-glass see-through-verandah-walls and the outer sides of the windows. On the inside, many of the light switches were actually dimmers, which was a first for this sailor---what a great touch. There was a TV in both the bedroom and the "living room"; the cabin really was a suite: the bedroom doors (2) closed the room completely from the rest of the stateroom. The hair dryer was in the dressing room, not the bathroom. In closing, the first few days of this cruise took a bit of adjustment on our parts. We had high hopes for sailing on one of the new Spirit-classed ships. Eventually we had a wonderful time---after all, it was a cruise! We most likely will not cruise with Carnival again.

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By Bill_CR

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Apr 22, 2004

Bahamas

EMBARKATION: My first cruise! Carnival said that embarkation started at 1pm, but I arrived at 11am and was on the boat by 12:30pm. The line wasn’t too bad, but it seemed to be a little disorganized and the Carnival staff on the pier was nasty, with the exception of the man who gave us our S&S cards right before boarding. THE CABIN: Well, we had booked the cheapest room available, an inside cabin, so imagine our surprise

when we discovered we had been upgraded to a room with a window, on Deck 1. Since we had been expecting the worst, this pleasant surprise put us in a wonderful mood to begin with. The room was wonderful and clean, with a King size bed, couch and table, TV, counter, mini-bar, and a good sized bathroom. Our cabin steward Maceij, was a great guy too! We had booked the cheapest, but considering the amount of time we spent in our room just watching the Atlantic go by, I would highly recommend spending the extra $100 a person to get a window. Don’t count on getting lucky like I did. I saw the room we had originally booked, and it’s about the size of a shoebox. THE SHIP: Let me say this: The Carnival Legend is a HUGE and BEAUTIFUL ship. The Colossus Lobby and Atrium is the first thing I saw, and I was blown away. Titanic has nothing on this ship. The décor is luxurious and not gaudy, imagine a step up from a Holiday Inn, but a step down from the Ritz Carlton. THE FOOD: As a first time cruiser, I had been deluged with other peoples opinions about every aspect of cruising. One thing they were unanimous about was the food: “The food is great,” “The food is amazing,” “You won’t believe your eyes!” In my opinion, the food SUCKED!! You have a few choices when you’re hungry. The first is Room Service. I was expecting to able to order filet mignon at 2am if that’s what I wanted, so I was surprised to see that there weren’t many choices at all. There are roast beef sandwiches, BLT’s, Turkey, Shrimp salad and things like that. Conspicuously absent are things like hamburgers, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, etc. So, Room Service wasn’t great. Throughout the day, you can eat in the Unicorn Café, which I also thought was a disappointment. They have a place for burgers and dogs (I’m on a cruise ship?) and an Asian Corner (Bland), a cold Deli (Can’t I get this stuff from room service?), and an “Ice Cream Station” (Where are the sprinkles, chocolate chips, butterscotch, etc? This is just bowls or cones of frozen ice cream or yogurt.) All in all, Unicorn Café is like a Sizzler in Hell. For Dinner, there is the Truffles Main Dining Room, and we had the late seating. We had a nice table for two by the door on the top floor. Our waiter was nice and remembered certain things about us, but the menu was uninspired at best. Every night there is a seafood dish, a chicken dish, a meat dish, and a veggie dish. The fish was usually salmon, although one night they had lobster. Their beef was usually fatty and small, the pasta not cooked enough, and the deserts all tasted store bought. While I know that it’s hard to prepare a meal for 2500 people at once, I still think they could have done a better job. For alternative dining, there is also the Golden Fleece Supper Club. But, you have to pay extra for this (A so-called “nominal fee” of $25 per person). If on the Legend, I highly recommend eating here. It’s not only the best meal I had on board the ship, it’s also one of the best I’ve had in my life. Intimate seating and lighting, as well as tables by the window with impeccable service and a knowledgeable sommelier. I cannot recommend this place enough. It’s the only place I saw Surf and Turf on the menu (And it was fantastic) But still, with a bottle of wine for two people, you spend $80 for dinner. And you’re on a cruise!! Now you want to know about the Midnight Buffet. You know that daily occurrence that everyone talks about? Not at Carnival. There was only one midnight buffet, which was insanely crowded (On line for a half hour, and I was lucky) and the food wasn’t up to par at all, most of it was cold. The only other place I ate was during the Captains Cocktail Party, the second day of the cruise. Free drinks and free snacks, and they were very tasty. All in all though, if you’re cruising to eat – Cruise on another cruise line. DRINKS / ALCOHOL I know one of the hottest topics on cruising forums is the price of liquor on board, and possibilities of bringing your own booze. I live in Long Island, so I found the bar prices comparable to any bar I would frequent. 15% gratuity is added to everything (even a can of soda), so you end up with charges like $3.98 for a domestic beer. Everyday there are drink specials, a tropical concoction for $2.95. If you like to drink, you won’t find anything cheaper, so stick to these. I would recommend getting them from the Casino though, as they’re much stronger there. (Gee, I wonder why) We did in fact smuggle our own liquor. We brought a 5L box of Merlot, and a Water Bottle filled with Vodka. We placed these in our checked luggage, and had no problem. Even with these to save money, we still had about a $500 bar bill, so if you like to drink, bring money or bring your own. The Wine Lists are pretty decent at dinner, but if you know wine like I do, it may grate on you to spend $25 for a $7 bottle of wine. In Bermuda, we also bought some Rum and walked it on board in my pocket with no problems. ENTERTAINMENT On the first day, it seems like you’ll never be able to do everything. By the fifth day, we were bored stiff. There were three shows after dinner, and only one of them was very good. The others were average. The casino is decent sized, and even has five cent slot machines. If you like to gamble, I’m sure you’ll spend time here. There are five or six different bars on board, each with varying décor and style. I recommend Satchmo’s if you like Rock and Roll Music. Beyond that, there is bingo every day $10 a card, one game only. There are trivia games (with infantile questions) and there are also AA meetings every day on board. For the most part, I thought that the entertainment was lacking sorely. Carnival needs more things to do during the day, and more things to do in case of inclement weather. PORTS OF CALL Bermuda – We took a bus to Horseshoe Bay the first day, and it is everything a tropical beach should be. The sand is glorious and soft and the water a crystal emerald color. On the second day we went shopping on Front Street in Hamilton. All the locals are very friendly and the town itself is clean and felt safe to walk around in. Try “The Beach” for $1.50 beers, and try the “Pickled Onion” for great lunch food. Newport, RI – We paid $25 a person for the “Cliff Walk” along the coast without knowing that we could have walked it ourselves for free. The guide that came a long knew a lot about the mansions, so I guess that’s worth it if you wanted a guided tour. DISEMBARKATION We chose to carry our own bags off. We got on a very large line at 8:15am, left the ship at about 9:15, waited 45 minutes for a taxi, and walked back into our home at 12:00 noon. Disorganized, but I think it’s better to carry your own bags. Have somebody pick you up or pay for a car if you can. SUMMARY Carnival tends to nickel and dime you to death whenever possible. There are things for free, but everything else is for a nominal fee. I was shocked at the Legends Café when they were selling cheesecake for three dollars a slice. This should all be included. What about a decent salad bar for a healthy snack? Nope, not on this boat. We had a good time, but I would never recommend Carnival to anyone, nor use them again myself. The food favors presentation over taste. The entertainment is style instead of substance. The boat is so huge that walking down the hallway will aggravate you after a while, and the four hot tubs on board are constantly overflowing. In short: Pay extra for another cruise line, you’ll have a better time. Walden15@yahoo.com

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Apr 22, 2004

Bahamas

  This is my first Cruise review of any kind. This latest Cruise was my third with Carnival. I had previously been on the Destiny in 2000 and the Triumph in 2002. I can confidently say this was by far my most disappointing cruise and my last with Carnival. I will attempt to keep this brief. We were cruising to Bermuda and then Newport Rhode Island for

6 days out of New York. The embarkation was typical. Took about an hour. I feel the $24.00 a day parking fee at the Pier in New York was a rip off. As for the Ship it was a typical large Carnival Ship. A lot of wasted space. It really did not seem well built as my Wife and I toured the entire Ship. Seems like they were rushed when they built it. We found many flaws. The hallways were terrible. You would be constantly running into people as the Hallways were not from one end of the Ship to the other but were in sections due to extended Balconies I presume. It was constant right and left hand turns and Boom, running into someone around the corners. You have to be on this Ship to fully appreciate what I'm saying. The Stairs at the back of the Ship were like 6-7 inches in length. This was strange and a major problem for me since I wear size 12 in shoes. It was difficult for me to walk down these Stairs without falling. Also we had some rough seas for one day which was nothing major as compared to a previous Cruise yet this ship was creaking as if we were in a Hurricane. It was amazing to listen to. Here is a brand new Ship which sounded like it was about to break apart do to some semi rough seas. The creaking was so loud in those Hallways it was freaky. The previous Ships did not have this problem. We had a Room with a Balcony. It was ok. The Balcony was not long enough for me to stretch my 6'3" frame out on which was a disappointment. It was clean though. Two twin Beds pushed together. No complaints there really. We had the late seating dinner which we always have. Another problem with this Ship is that the only have one Dining Room. The caused the one Dining Room to be very overcrowded and many people feeling they were out in the boondocks away from any action going on. Previous Ships had two Dining Rooms which worked out better for everyone. We assume they switched to one Dining Room to cut staff. Now for my first major complaint. The Midnight Buffet. Actually they do not even call it a midnight buffet anymore which is appropriate. It consisted of Pizza/Calzone and some sandwich meat. That's about it. My first Cruise on the Destiny in 2000 the midnight Buffet was something everyone looked forward to. The amount and variety of Food available at that time was mind boggling. Now it is truly a joke. My Wife tells me the midnight buffet was even better on the ecstasy in 1997 on her first Cruise with Carnival. People loved it, looked forward to it, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now it is not even worth going to. Again we assume this is cost cutting by Carnival. The service and Food in the dining Room was fine. Not the quality of Royal Caribbean or Celebrity but as good as can be expected from Carnival. My second major complaint was the entertainment and activities on board. This was another joke. Our days at sea consisted of bingo and hairy chest competitions. Total waste of time and very boring. The shows at night have really gone down hill from the past. The comedian was pretty good. But the other shows with the dancers are not nearly as good as they were as Carnival has added singers to these shows who leave a lot to be desired. I grade the overall entertainment on board a D and that is being liberal. My Wife was also very disappointed. Now for my main complaint which has caused me to state I will never Cruise with Carnival again. I became sick with severe stomach cramps and diarrhea from Saturday night's 4/24/04 dinner through Sunday morning. My Wife requested something from the infirmary such as Lomotil or Immodium, but was only given Kaopectate. After taking the Kaopectate, it resolved the problem through the day on Sunday so we were able to enjoy our first day in Bermuda. After returning to the ship Sunday night, I again began having more severe stomach cramps and diarrhea. We had not eaten any of the food in Bermuda. Around midnight Sunday, I called the infirmary and stated that I needed Lomotil or Immodium and medication for the abdominal cramps. The nurse was reluctant to give any medication at all, and recommended Kaopectate again. I had to make numerous phone calls to this nurse who finally grudgingly agreed to give my finance Lomotil, but stated there would be a $50.00 charge for it. She asked if I had a temperature. Since my Wife is a Registered Nurse with a bachelor's degree and certainly can tell if someone has a temperature, I told her I did NOT have a temperature, just the diarrhea and stomach cramps. She then stated it was not a professional diagnosis and I had to go to the infirmary. I was too weak to go, as the infirmary was at the other end of the Ship. The nurse then stated that I would be quarantined to my stateroom and not be allowed to leave the Ship or the stateroom for 24 hours. Medical clearance would only be given on Tuesday morning. I asked the Nurse if I felt better in the morning could I go on shore and was told NO. This caused us to miss our second day in Bermuda which was the main reason we went on this cruise to begin with. All the compensation we received was free pay-per view movies for the 24 hours of which the selection was horrible. Who wants to watch movies when you are in Bermuda? We were forced to stay in the stateroom. She also threatened that if I attempted to leave the ship while docked in Bermuda on Monday, I would have my sign and sail card taken away. Mind you the nurse made this judgment without ever seeing me. We feel this was done as retaliation for awakening her from her sleep on Sunday night as she had a major attitude problem through this entire episode. On Tuesday Morning, we went to the infirmary and the nurse asked when I last had the diarrhea and I told the nurse that it had stopped Monday morning. She proceeded to give him medical clearance and said sarcastically "Now you can enjoy the rest of your cruise." This entire episode was outrageous and totally mishandled. Bottom line is I got sick from food served by Carnival. When we were finally given the medicine, which my Wife had requested numerous times we were charged $50.00 for it and then I was quarantined to my stateroom for 24 hours without the nurse ever seeing me. I called Carnival's guest relations department and was given the expected excuses. They said they would send me a voucher for $50.00 off my next Carnival Cruise as well as a free excursion. Whoopee. Carnival, you can keep your $50.00 discount and free excursion. You lost not only my Business as well as my Wife's but as many People as I can influence with my experience. I will never Cruise with you again.

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Mar 20, 2004

Exotic Western Caribbean

We just returned from the 8 day Western Caribbean Cruise on the Legend. We booked an extended balcony room on the Panorama deck. (deck 8). This was the top deck of cabins. We assumed that this was he best position on the ship. However above is the Lido deck and pool area. The sounds of the band , people dragging chairs across the deck and the midnight deck/ line dance party can all be heard in your cabin loud and clear, from 6 am when

the breakfast service starts until at least midnight. So my only real criticism is this inherent defect in the ship. There is apparently no sound insulation between the Lido deck and the cabins below. I was not the only person to recognize this. So if booking this ship, get a cabin on deck 7 or below and this problem takes care of itself. Now let’s get to the good stuff. We chose this itinerary due to the ports of call. These are not like the ports one is used to in the Caribbean. If you want 2000 jewelry stores, duty free liquor, and 5 star resorts do not take this cruise. If you want nature, adventure, and intellectual stimulation take this cruise. Belize: I arranged a tour online before the cruise. We took a local water taxi to Caye Caulker. Belize is surrounded by coral island. Some small, some not so small. The resorts and activities are on these islands. So from Belize City one must go by boat to snorkel. These boats are not your average tender. The are long and narrow with 2- 200 HP outboards. They go REAL fast to get to these islands. They are an excursion in themselves. Once on Caye Caulker we found the tour company shack. My wife and I went with another couple snorkeling off this island. This island is a lot like Gilligans’ Island, primitive. Our tour guide was Ramsey. He took us to snorkel over the coral reef. The water was crystal clear. The fish were abundant. After two stop on the reef, we went to Shark/Ray Alley. Here we snorkeled with 8-10’ nurse sharks (docile) and huge stingrays. Ramsey picked the sharks up and we pet them. The same with the sting rays. He claims to have named them and talks to them while there. I did not hear them answer. In my opinion this was superior to Stingray City, Grand Cayman due to the fact that we were the only ones there. Unlike Stingray City where there are dozens of boats and hundreds of people. We then took the water taxi back to Belize City, making several stops along the way. One of them being at Caye Chapel, an island entirely covered by a beautiful Golf resort. The ultimate golf experience for golf nuts. They fly you in from Belize City to golf here. From Belize City we took the tender back to the ship, anchored 5 miles off shore to protect the coral reef. Virtually no shopping here. Costa Rica: Here we took the Sloth Sanctuary/Canoe tour .offered by the ship. This tour was brand new. I highly recommend this fascinating tour. We went by air conditioned bus thru the city of Limon to the rain forest to the sanctuary. It is in a beautiful, lust jungle setting. We viewed a short video that has been featured on Animal Planet. It explains their work there. Then we met Buttercup, A 3 toed sloth. She is a permanent fixture there at the sanctuary. We were able to pet her and take photos with her. We also saw the baby sloths and Millie a mature 2 toed sloth, who also lives at the sanctuary. After and delicious tropical fruit platter and ice cold lemonade, we boarded a small canoe for a peaceful ride thru the jungle. Our guide pointed out iguanas, birds and other wildlife in the rain forest. Wild bananas, bamboo and coconut palms were everywhere. The tour ended with a leisurely walk thru the rainforest. There we saw blue land crabs, fluorescent fungi , cutter ants. and sloths . The sloths were high up in the canopy . One the way back to the ship we saw the Dole banana plantation. Further on the bus driver spotted some howler monkeys up in the trees by the roadside.. We got off the bus for a look at them. They truly live up to their name. They raise a terrible ruckus. A great way to end our tour. Back at the dock there is a flea market where beautiful, unique, exotic wood handicrafts can be purchased for reasonable prices. No diamonds just handicrafts. Also the coffee they are famous for is here. We bought beautiful hand made rosewood boxes . Costa Rica also grows exotic hardwoods as a renewable crop. Panama: Here the ship docks in Colon, the port on the Atlantic side. Here we left the ship and after passing the naked people we made our way to where the local tour guides wait to take people on tours, mainly to the canal. They are very aggressive so beware. We found a fellow who had a SUV type vehicle, as there were four of us. Our guide took us up to Gatun Locks. Here we saw the lock operation up close. We watched as the ships are led into the locks by the locomotives they use to guide them. The doors close behind them and the water is pumped causing the ship to rise. This is an incredible site to see. Then we crossed the locks and went up to Lake Gatun. Here we see the amazing sight of ships sailing above sea level. We then went all around the canal zone viewing the former US military installations. From there he took us into Colon for some shopping. Once again, no jewels but lots of bargains. He would have taken us anywhere we wanted to go. The ship charges a minimum of !00 dollars for a canal tour. We paid 100 for all four of us and as our guide said, he took us places where the tours never go. Don’t be afraid to go out on your own. Just use your head and tell the guide what time you have to be back . The canal is a must see!!! Now about the ship. The room was nice and comfortable. Our room steward, Alberto from India was the best. The room was always perfect and he was never intrusive. Except for the afore mentioned problem, the room was fine. The balcony is private and is a real nice place to relax and have a cigar or your morning coffee. The decor of the ship is a bit over the top but who cares. The food on the Lido deck is plentiful and delicious. The variety was endless. There is a midnight buffet every night. All food served on the Lido deck was superb. Service there was great there too. The dining room is 2 tiered. The food there was also great. The desserts were especially good. However Carnival no longer offers free espresso and cappuccino after dinner, as was the case in the past. Also the dining room has a lot of tables for 2. We prefer to dine with others so we were able to switch seating assignments. However we had to switch to early seating. Not a big deal. This cruise has made me take back most of the negative things I’ve said about Carnival in the past. The service on this ship, to a man, was outstanding . I was really impressed. Keep up the good work Carnival. If anyone has any questions feel free to email me. BON VOYAGE !

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Mar 20, 2004

8 night Western Caribbean

Me, my wife, and 2 children (ages 6 and 7) all had a very good trip aboard this ship with this itinerary. I was pleased with the plentiful and varied food in the dining areas and on the Lido deck by the pool. The private dining restaurant was superb. Last year we were on the Carnival Paradise, a non-smoking ship, and I do not want to be around smokers, yet except for limited occassions in the casino, was not bothered by any smokers. The

gym facility was excellent, and my kids always wanted to go to Camp Carnival. No problem keeping kids there until 2:00 a.m. The pool areas are nice. While away for 8 nights made me anxious, the Internet cafe with 12 computers was always available and always working. Connection home was fast. Cost is $104 for 270 minutes. Belize City is horrible, get a tour out of that city. I do not recommend the Panama Canal tour fo $173 per person. Too long a bus ride and too hot on the ferry which goes up half of the canal. I also do not recommend the banana plantation tour in Costa Rica - it is really an opportunity for Carnival to charge you to take you to 2 totally out of the way shopping sites where you end up buying cheap nicknacks. I was dissappointed that the coffee available 24 hours a day in the Unicorn Cafe or on the Lido deck was lukewarm, never hot the way I like it. Even though 4 of us were in one cabin, it was plenty of room, including in the bathroom. Lots of drawers and closets everywhere. Casino was very good. My wife and I are roulette players, and they have 2 tables which were both in constant play all evening up until 2:00 a.m. Shows and comedy were good, not great. Even with all the passengers, never felt crowded. Only exception was the Gala Midnight Buffet. Really not worth the up to 45 minute wait, unless you have never seen a gala buffet before with its ice sculptures. Over the years, Carnival seems to have deemphasized the midnight buffets (they really start at 11:30 p.m. and food stopped serving at 12:30 a.m.). All in all a very good cruise, and I recommend this ship with this itinerary. Regards, Peter Quinter

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Mar 12, 2004

Exotic Southern Caribbean

We booked our cruise on the Carnival Legend nine months before we set sail. In booking our cruise, we were looking for an itinerary that included islands we had not been to in our previous three cruises. We chose the eight day southern Caribbean itinerary after seeking some advice from our travel agent at Cruise Holidays of Lincoln. She knew that we liked to shop and some of us wanted to snorkel, and she promised that we would find the

best of both worlds with this cruise. We knew right away that we wanted to sail with Carnival, because of our positive experiences with them in the past. They are the only cruise line we have ever cruised with. There were a total of 13 of us who went on the cruise. Most of us had been on at least one cruise before, and some were first time cruisers. The cruise left Fort Lauderdale on Friday, March 12. Eight of us in the group live in Nebraska, so we decided to fly down a day early just in case it would snow. The rest of the group members live in Florida, so they drove down on the 12th. PRE-CRUISE DAY ONE: The Nebraskans arrived in Fort Lauderdale at 2:00 on Thursday afternoon. We caught our free shuttle to our hotel, Ramada Airport/Cruise Port. We were a little nervous about staying here, after reading previous reviews about this hotel. The rooms were fairly clean, and the landscaping around the pool area was very nice. The only bad thing we noticed upon check in was the fact that there was no running water in our rooms. That was fixed later in the day. We decided to have an early dinner at a restaurant called Randezvous. This was recommended by our shuttle driver. It is located about one block behind the hotel, and sits right along the waterfront. The food was wonderful, and the prices were very reasonable. We tried to get some sleep that night, but between the excitement of getting on the cruise ship the next day, and the noise of the hotel, we did not get much. This was the noisiest hotel we have ever stayed at. We asked for extra pillows and towels before we went to bed, and the front desk said that they would be sent to us. Over an hour later, we had not received them yet. My brother went down and stood in line in the lobby for 45 minutes, until he finally got what we needed. DAY ONE: We got up extra early because we were warned by the shuttle driver to be in line early if we wanted to catch the free shuttle to the port. First, we thought we would stop by the hotel’s restaurant to get our free breakfast, which was mentioned on the hotel’s website, but this might have been a big mistake. There was only one waitress working in the restaurant, and she refused to let us eat for free, even when we showed her the page that said breakfast was included in our room rate. From then on, we received bad service as some of us just sat and drank coffee. As we were getting ready to leave the restaurant, we were told to go ahead and get whatever we wanted off the buffet for no charge. Some of us went up to the buffet and got some food after this. One member of our party tried to pay the waitress upon leaving, but her words were “No, just get out of here!” This was our sign that it was time to head to the port, even though it was only 9:00 and we could not board until 12:00. We sat at the cruise terminal that morning and watched all of the ship’s passengers get off. At about 10:30, the line at the door started forming, so we got in line, with approximately 100 people in front of us. We were lucky enough to be at the front of the line because the Carnival representatives checked us in before entering the terminal. This saved us about 10 minutes when we got inside. After entering the building, it took about 30 to 45 minutes to go through security, get our sail and sign cards, and get our pictures taken. Keep in mind, we also completed the Fun Pass online before we left home, so this saved us some more time also. We were greeted with maps of the ship when we got on board. We went directly to our rooms (7270,7274,7278, 7282, 7286) on the verandah deck aft to get rid of our luggage. My parents’ room was decorated for their anniversary with banners, balloons, and a cake. This is something that can be requested prior to sailing for a small fee. The rooms appeared to be a little bit smaller compared to our cabins on previous Carnival ships, but this is nothing to complain about. The bathrooms were fairly large and stocked with numerous toiletry items that were free to use. Terrycloth robes were hanging in the closet for our use, and we were supplied with Carnival beach towels for use during the week. All of our cabins were interior cabins, but were still nice. We were pleased with the free upgrade we got from the Riviera deck, which was six decks below. After dropping our bags off, we headed up to the Unicorn Café on the lido deck to get some lunch. There were several buffet lines to choose from (pizza, salad bar, dessert bar, taste of the nations, the deli, the grill, and the rotisserie). The lines were always very long no matter which line you were in. This is something that never happened on previous cruises. The pizza was not up to par with what we have had on the Triumph and the Imagination, however, if you like garlic, you will like this pizza. After lunch, we took a quick tour around the ship before the muster drill. We set sail at about 4:30. We were a bit disappointed that not much was done upon setting sail. The cruise director, Brett Alans, made a brief announcement, and that was it. We had dinner later that night at 8:15 (late seating). Upon arriving at our table, it was set for only 12 instead of 13. The waiters quickly corrected the problem. We were very pleased that all of us could sit at one table together, since our travel agent told us it would probably not be possible since there were so many of us. After dinner, we went to the first show of the cruise at 10:30 in the Follies lounge. Tonight’s entertainment was the “Welcome Aboard Show”. At the show, we were introduced to our cruise director, and other various crew members. The “hat game” was played by military veterans, and current members of the military. After the show, we headed back up to the lido deck for the late night buffet, which starts at 11:30. DAY TWO: Today was our first full “fun day at sea”. The cruise director held his “Travel and Adventure Talk” at 11:00 am. This talk covered basic information about our ports of call, and all of the island excursions were talked about. The meeting was very informative. After the talk, six members of our group went back to their cabins to book one of the snorkeling excursions in Martinique. They really wanted to go snorkeling in Barbados, but all the tours were booked even before the Travel and Adventure Talk. I highly recommend that you book your excursions early, as nearly all of them were booked by the end of the day. At noon, some of us attended the putting contest with the PGA Golf Pro that works on board the ship. This was a lot of fun. At 1:00, we attended the “Men’s Hairy Chest Contest,” which took place on the Lido deck. This was very entertaining. Tonight was our first formal night. An hour long cocktail party was held before each dinner seating on the Promenade deck. We took advantage of the professional photography that was on board, and had our pictures taken in two different locations. Nearly every passenger was dressed up for the event, almost all of the males wore suits, and some chose to rent tuxedos. Most of the women wore very formal dresses. After dinner, we went to the Follies Lounge for Showtime, which featured Christopher Alan Graves in “Singin’ with the Big Band”. His show was a tribute to Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. The show was okay, but not very entertaining for us college students on board. After the show, some of us headed to the disco (Medusa’s Lair) for some dancing. We were surprised to see several crew members from the Purser’s desk dancing there also! DAY THREE: Today was another “fun day at sea”. The cruise director held his shopping talk at 11:00, which was very informative. Since we attended the talk, we received several free offers and coupons that could be redeemed at the ports. We watched “Legend Survivor” on the Lido deck at 1:00, which was fun. The daily Bingo game was played at 2:30, in which one of the members of our group won $200! The remainder of the day was spent in the casino, the arcade, and sunbathing. At 5:00 pm, we attended “A Tribute to Broadway” featuring Jason French. Jason is one of the production singers on board. The show was very short, but he had an amazing voice. I thought Jason was a better entertainer than some of the singers they flew in for the shows at night. At 10:30, we attended Showtime, which featured our cruise director, Brett Alans doing magic, and Multi-Instrumentalist and Vocalist Roger Homefield. I have to be honest and say that this was probably one of the worst shows that I have seen on any of the cruises I have been on. People were walking out right and left, especially when Roger Homefield was on stage. DAY FOUR: Today, we arrived in Saint Maarten at 7:00 in the morning. We got off the ship at about 9:00 and did some shopping along Front Street. We had to take a water taxi into town, but it only cost $5 per person, roundtrip. Along Front Street, you will find many jewelry and souvenir shops. Everything on this island was reasonably priced. Prior to leaving home, we had read about a beach on the western side of the island that is located at the edge of the runway of the island’s airport. Since there were two pilots in our group, we decided that we had to go there. The taxi ride cost $10 per person roundtrip. It was about a 20 minute drive from Front Street. On the way to Maho Bay, our driver gave us a mini island tour, which we enjoyed. We spent about an hour at Maho Bay and enjoyed every minute of it. We saw about five planes fly 50 feet above our heads as they came in over the water! The beach was very small, but it was not crowded. The beach was very clean, and the water was very blue. Going to Maho Bay was probably the highlight of the trip, and we hope to go back someday. The ship left Saint Maarten at 4:00pm, which meant we had to back on board at 3:30. We felt like we were a little rushed, because there was so much to do at this port of call. After dinner, we went to Showtime, once again. Tonight’s show was “Jazz Hot” featuring the Carnival Legend Dancers. Most of us could not get into the show, because we are not Jazz fans. I cannot complain too much about this production, because the dancers and singers were very talented. DAY FIVE: Today, we arrived in Barbados at noon. We got off the ship around 1:30. Almost all of the shopping at this port is located at the cruise terminal, so we shopped for a little bit and then hailed a taxi for an island tour. The cost was $15 per person, but we talked him down to $13 for a two hour tour. This tour was a big disappointment. The driver tried to talk about the island as he was driving, but no one could hear, so he eventually stopped talking. He drove us through the poorest parts of the island, where we got to see all of the shacks, and sugar cane fields. He did take us to the highest point of the island, which overlooks the ocean, and we got to get out and take pictures. At the end of the tour, he stopped in downtown Barbados, where we could do some more shopping, but we refused to get out, as the area did not look safe at all! When we got back to the terminal, we did some more shopping and we were back on the ship by 5:00. We chose not to have dinner in the dining room tonight since we got back on board later. We spent the night playing shuffleboard and enjoyed dinner in the Unicorn Café. We left Barbados at 10:00pm. We attended Showtime at 10:30 in Follies. Tonight was the Guest Talent Show. As always, this was the best show of the entire cruise. The guests that performed were amazing! At the end of the show, members of the crew entertained us with a song, which featured the cruise director dancing in a pink tutu!! At midnight, the deck party started with live music from Caribbean Vibes on the Lido deck. The theme for the late night buffet was Mexican (the best buffet of the entire cruise). The social hosts (Owen and Victoria) hosted deck games and dancing until late. DAY SIX: We arrived in Martinique at 7:00 in the morning. Our group members who went snorkeling had to meet at 8:00am for their three hour snorkeling tour. The rest of us slept in a bit and were off the ship by 10:00. We shopped at some of the shops at the terminal, and then walked downtown (a 15 minute walk) to the open air markets. The sidewalk leading to downtown is painted blue, so you cannot get lost. If you don’t feel like walking, you can always catch a taxi. In the open air market, you can find t-shirts, handmade jewelry, wraps, and more. Most items are inexpensive. We spent over an hour at the market, and then walked back to the ship. The group members who went snorkeling said that the tour was very good, and the water conditions were excellent. They were able to snorkel in three different locations on their tour. We left Martinique at 2:00 in the afternoon. The remainder of the day was spent sunbathing, as it was a very warm and sunny day. After being disappointed with Showtime for several nights, we decided not to go tonight. The entertainment was Hypnotist Mike Harvey. We walked into the lounge to catch the last half of the show, and we were not too impressed. At midnight, we returned to Follies to listen to Legend Production Singer, Trent Webb sing some country tunes. The show lasted a little over a half hour, but consisted of him talking most of the time. But, once again, I can’t complain too much because he was a good singer and had a lot of talent. DAY SEVEN: Today was another “fun day at sea”. In the morning, we attended a live taping of “The Morning Show” which featured the Cruise Director and Assistant Cruise Director talking about the activities of the day. In the afternoon, we went on a tour of the galley, which is always interesting. Tonight was our second formal night. Once again, everyone dressed up formally. We had the photographers take some more pictures before we headed to dinner. After dinner, we went to the lounge to see “Take II” featuring the Legend dancers and singers. We were told that this would be the best production of the cruise, and it was. After the show was the Gala Buffet. The dining room was open for pictures from 11:30 to 12:15, and then reopened at 12:30 for the buffet. It always amazes me what the chefs can do with food! DAY EIGHT: Today was our last “fun day at sea”. We attended the debarkation talk in the morning, which gave us important information about customs, luggage, and tipping. We spent the rest of our day playing shuffleboard, trying to win money in the casino, and sunbathing. We enjoyed our last dinner in the dining room, where we tipped our waiter and assistant waiter as we left. Normally, your tipping is included on your sail and sign card, but we chose to tip them with cash instead. We did not attend Showtime tonight. The entertainment was a Motown singer, and a comedian. We went back to our cabin after dinner and finished packing, since our luggage had to be in the hall by midnight. Later that night, we went to the Colossus Lobby, where we listened to David (a guitar player and singer). DAY NINE-DEBARKATION: We arrived in Fort Lauderdale at 7:00 in the morning. We enjoyed our last breakfast together on the Lido deck, and then went to the Follies Lounge to await debarkation. Debarkation started at 9:30, and we were called off by 10:15. The Floridians headed home, and the Nebraskans stayed in the Miami area for another two days. The afternoon was spent at Hollywood Beach, which was packed with the “Snow Birds” from Canada. We also went into a few of the shops that line the beach. POST-CRUISE DAY ONE : We spent the day at Bayside, in downtown Miami. This is a neat place along the waterfront, overlooking the Port of Miami. There is lots of shopping to do here, and many nice restaurants including Hard Rock Cafe. We also drove through South Beach, but there was so much traffic and no place to park so we did not stop. POST-CRUISE DAY TWO: The Nebraskans headed home…all thirteen of us are already looking forward to our next Carnival cruise together! Other info: CRUISE DIRECTOR: Brett Alans was ok. He was very knowledgeable about the shore excursions and islands, since he is the longest serving CD with Carnival. However, after taking a previous cruise with CD John Heald on the Triumph, no one could ever match up to John! PORTS OF CALL: In my opinion, Saint Maarten was the best, and had the most to offer. Barbados seemed a little dirty, but we talked to our fellow cruisers who said that they went to the other side of the island and thought it was beautiful. Martinique was neat, but not a whole lot to do there. We really would have liked to have more time in Saint Maarten since there was so much to do. Overall, I think that these three ports of call were some of the best that we have been to, and I would love to go back to all three of them again. CREW: Our waiter and assistant waiter were the best we have had on any cruise. Tucker (waiter from Jamaica) and Adi (assistant waiter from Indonesia) were awesome, and catered to our every need. Many nights, some of us did not like what was on the menu, so they always ordered a steak and baked potato for us. Service was always very fast. Sometimes, we would see them working in other areas of the ship, and they would always say hello. Our Cabin Steward, Juan, was very good. We did not see him too often, but whenever we needed something, he was always there. The Social hosts were very entertaining. FOOD: Comparable with what we have experienced on other Carnival ships. The lines in Unicorn café were very long. The desserts could be improved a bit, as we usually saw the same thing everyday on the Lido deck. The pizza is not nearly as good as what we have had on other ships. The veal parmesan that was served in the dining room was the worst veal I have ever tasted. It was tough, and did not have much flavor. Other than this, the rest of the food was excellent! ENTERTAINMENT: Good. We really enjoyed the music that was played in some of the smaller lounges. Music Connection played a variety of music, oldies, rock, and country. This band played every night in Satchmo’s. We also enjoyed listening to David who sang and played his acoustic guitar in the Colossus lobby every night. Like I said before, the big shows in Follies were not nearly as good as what we have seen previously. THE SHIP: This was our first time on a Spirit-class ship. Overall, I think our family prefers the Destiny-class over the Spirit-class. The public areas on this ship were always very crowded, especially on the Lido deck in the Unicorn Café. If you wanted to lay out in the sun, you better be out there early, or you will not find a place to lay because there is no deck space. Usually we ended up laying out in the back part of the ship, but you could not hear any of the live music or see any of the games. The ship is beautiful, despite what people say about all the urns. After eight days, you don’t even realize the urns are there. It was kind of hard getting used to a ship without any neon lighting in the atrium. EMBARKATION/DEBARKATION: This did not take as long as what we had read about in some other cruise reviews, but the lines did seem longer than what we have experienced in Miami. The Carnival representatives that checked us in at Port Everglades were very friendly and helped save us a lot of time. It was a mess outside the cruise terminal, with people getting off and people waiting to get on at the same time. It was hard to walk down the sidewalk. It seems as though Port Everglades is almost too small to accommodate this many people. OVERALL: We all had an excellent time, and we are ready to go again! You cannot beat the value of a Carnival cruise, and you will never be disappointed. We all have great memories, and new friendships that will last a lifetime!

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Jan 24, 2004

Southern Caribbean

Carnival Legend, 8-Day Exotic Southern to St. Marteen, Barbados, and Martinique, departing Fort Lauderdale 1/24/04. PRE-CRUISE: This was the sixth cruise for my husband, Roger, and I. We flew to Fort Lauderdale a day early via US Airways. This was our first time on US Airways, and we were disappointed with how little room there was between seats and that we had to seat separately on both legs of our trip to Fort Lauderdale. Otherwise,

the flight was uneventful and arrived safely on time. We had booked our pre-cruise stay at the Ramada Fort Lauderdale Airport/Port Everglades free due to multiple stays at like hotels. Their website claimed a restaurant, bar, and free transportation to and from the airport and pier, so we figured this was a deal we couldn’t beat. After picking up our luggage, we phoned the Ramada to ask where to catch the van, and they directed us to an area to wait nearby. We waited … and waited … and waited … almost an hour. Others waiting on other hotels had waited more than an hour. We were one of the lucky ones picked up within an hour. Upon arrival, I was very disappointed in the appearance of this Ramada. As Roger attempted to check us in, they asked for a credit card for the stay. Roger called me over to the desk to discuss the problem, and the clerk explained to us that they had been unable to verify this as a free stay, so he simply wanted the credit card to get us checked in. He said he would continue to get it verified, but the credit card would be required. I told him that we wouldn’t be staying if this wasn’t free, so get it verified or we’re leaving. Within fifteen minutes, they had it verified, and we were in our room. The room was fine. We had reservations that evening at the Blue Moon Fish Company, a dinner recommendation from Chris, aka “IAmCruising”, so we decided to catch a taxi over to that area and then just wonder around until time for dinner. The taxi driver asked us how we ended up at that “dump” referring to our hotel. The taxi dropped us off at the restaurant, and we strolled down Commercial Avenue. We eventually ran into Athena’s Grill by the Sea, with doors wide open, good music playing, and a bar. We asked the host at the door if we could just have a seat at the bar for a while, and he welcomed us in. We both ordered a drink, but when offered table, explained that we weren’t eating there. Within just a couple of minutes, a server placed a basked of pita bread and humus dip in front of us – complimentary. This appetizer was delicious, and we stayed longer than we’d intended. We enjoyed interacting with the bartender and the various servers dashing by. They invited us back at 10:30 pm, when they had belly dancers performing with guests! This invitation sounded good to us, so we headed out at just the right time for our dinner reservations. We strongly recommend a visit to Athena’s Grill by the Sea during your visit to Fort Lauderdale – the food looked great, too! We strolled back to the Blue Moon Fish Company, where we were immediately seated at a table overlooking the Intercoastal Waterway. We had read about this on the website, and I was worried that it would be chilly eating by the water this time of year. Not a problem as they had large sheets of transparent plastic between us and the outside, a perfect solution to allowing us to enjoy the view without the chill. Everything on the menu looked great. We had a fabulous Soft Shell Crab Claw and Sushi appetizer. This appetizer was huge and delicious. Our entrees were equally delicious. The restaurant was really busy this evening, and yet our server was attentive and personable. We also strongly recommend this restaurant, but remember to make reservations before you go! After dinner, we strolled back to Athena’s and ordered drinks again at the bar, but by then travel fatigue was starting to settle in, and we were still 45 minutes from the belly dancers’ performance, so we caught a cab to return to our hotel. We were really tired, but we were awakened repeatedly throughout the night by a man who seemed to be fighting with his girlfriend by cell phone in the courtyard outside our room. DAY ONE: The next morning, we joined a crowd at the entrance of the hotel restaurant to be seated for breakfast. One server was working the entire restaurant, seating and serving guests. We strongly do not recommend this hotel or restaurant! As we visited with other guests during breakfast, we were told the van was taking two separate trips to the pier with guests, and they were loading first come, first served, without guarantee that you would get a seat on either trip. At this point, we decided to simply catch a taxi again. The taxi arrived and whisked us away before the hotel van had even loaded up for the first trip. We had good experiences with every taxi driver in Fort Lauderdale. We arrived at the Carnival terminal by 11 a.m. Carnival representatives were milling around in the crowd outside the terminal, and one of them indicated that we should go on in the terminal. As we and several other guests attempted to enter the terminal, a Carnival representative instructed us all to go back outside until our documents had been processed by the Carnival representatives on the sidewalk. So, we all poured back outside. The Carnival representative out there said that wasn’t true and went back inside to talk to the Carnival representative. Shortly, she returned, and all the Carnival representatives outside started processing our paperwork on the sidewalk. There was no order, just who could shove their paperwork in front of a rep just when she completed those of the previous guest. The “Fun Passes” had no purpose in this chaos. Once we had a green sticker on our boarding passes, we were allowed to enter. We walked past the terminal desks where this process normally occurs, and no one was there. I’m not sure why this procedure was so different, confusing, and inefficient, compared to our other cruises, but this was our first time leaving from the Fort Lauderdale terminal. We were among the first to get our Sail ‘n Sign cards and have a seat in the terminal. At about 12:30 pm, they allowed us to board the ships, getting our pictures taken by the ship photographers and security as we loaded. We had no difficulty finding our room, an 8I balcony in the front to mid-ship area. Our cabin steward indicated that our room wasn’t quite ready, so we dropped off our carry-on and headed up one set of stairs to the Lido deck for sun, drinks and food! At the top of the stairs we went up to the Lido deck was the Salon. Roger realized he had forgotten something in our room, so he ran back down while I lingered at the Salon, looking at their specials and contemplating making a manicure appointment. One of the salon girls approached me asking if I had ever had the Seaweed Massage, pointing to it on the specials. I said, no, noticing it was $176, and she said that their model, one of the dancers, for the spa tour today was sick and they needed a model. She offered me the massage free if I would allow people to come and go as I was given my massage. YEAH! So, by the time Roger returned, I was booked as a massage model in an hour and had a manicure booked for the next day. We found our way to the casual restaurant and ordered pizza and drinks. What a great way to start the cruise. We had a brief time to tour the ship before I had to report to the salon. That massage was so wonderful! And, the people touring the salon were interesting. Some of the people touring were embarrassed to come in the room where she was working on me. That was funny, because I was mostly covered and nothing inappropriate was showing … after they left, the masseuse said, “Americans are so funny about this!” Another time, a group was making sarcastic remarks about the prices, which hurt her feelings. If you’re touring the salon remember the workers there have feelings, too … no need to be rude! She finished my massage just in time for the muster drill, ordering me to drink one of those 44 ounce bottles of water before drinking anything else to complete the cleansing! My skin felt so smooth, and I was so relaxed. The muster drill was fairly painless, and the ship didn’t start sailing until well after we were all back on deck without our life jackets. But, it was chilly! We had planned a meet with some BB friends, but didn’t connect with any of them, and quickly moved into a part of the ship that was more sheltered from the chilly wind. We moved on to karaoke – no one was there all week; the first time we haven’t enjoyed karaoke. We went to the liquor tasting at the gift stores. Then we got ready for our late dinner seating. We were seated at a table for four in the upper level, and no one joined us at our table the first night. Our servers were Davor and Margarette. They were wonderful, remembering our likes and dislikes and making excellent recommendations. I was so relaxed from my massage and so tired from traveling the prior day and having my sleep interrupted the night before, I said I was ready to make it a night, so we missed the rest of the activities that first night. DAY TWO: We love sea days, but the weather was still chilly, so I opted to stay inside most of the day, while Roger wondered out for some sun off and on. We rested well and woke up refreshed and opted for breakfast at the Unicorn on the Lido deck. Late morning, we listened to the Travel and Adventure Talk by our CD, Brett Alans. We quickly realized that Brett was our CD on our very first cruise in 2000 on the Sensation, and Brent, the assistant CD, was on our most previous cruise on the Paradise – small world! We had planned to do our own thing at two of the ports, but we were undecided about Martinique. This talk helped us pick a great ship excursion in Martinique – more about that later. We again visited the Unicorn for a light lunch before our afternoon activities. The Unicorn has four stations: Asian, Deli, American, and another that changed each day. Plus a salad bar, dessert bar, and pizza were available. The food was great there! After lunch, Roger and I went to the Art Auction Preview before I left for my manicure appointment. I rejoined Roger for the remainder of the Art Auction and found that he had purchased a lovely piece of art by Tarkai. We’re anxious for it’s arrival at our home. The auctioneer was Charlie, who we had met at previous art auctions on the Paradise – small world! Tonight was our first formal night, so we quickly got ready for the Captain’s Cocktail Party at 6:45. We enjoyed the free drinks and appetizers, and we visited every photography station to have our picture snapped. We did this every night, getting some great pictures to take our memories back home. We again returned our late dinner seating and again we were alone at a table for four. We were very disappointed, because we love getting to know people over dinner. At that point, though, we felt obligated to stay with our servers. After dinner, we went to the first of the ship’s big shows – Christopher Alan Graves in Singin’ with the Big Band. It was a very good show. DAY THREE: Our second sea day – did I tell you we love sea days? The weather was getting warmer as we traveled south, and we loved it. We again ate breakfast and lunch in the Unicorn, laying out on the deck in between. The pool sections are so segmented on this ship that there are a limited number of deck chairs in that area. All of these were “reserved” early in the day. Unfortunately, there were so many people in the pools and hot tubs, we were afraid to take the reserved seats for fear they were those of people nearby. So, we were constantly relegated to deck chairs in the hinder regions of the ship. We really don’t mind, but we would have liked to occasionally be near the action. The shopping talk was the morning, but we didn’t consider these strong shopping ports for things we look for. We had lots of sun time, relaxing, dozing, reading books, drinking, and eating. We got ready for the evening, spent some time in the Sports bar with one of our favorite bartenders, Danquala, and made some friends. Dinner, again alone at our table, we simply didn’t enjoy our dinner experiences much because of this. After dinner, we wondered around the ship and decided not to go to the show this night, which was The Magic of Brett Alans & Roger Homefield. Instead we visited the Colussus Lobby Bar, where David Davol was playing some great tunes on his guitar. We and some other couples visited with one another, tapped our toes, and danced to his tuned, and we all had to buy one of his CDs before he called it night and so did we. DAY FOUR – ST. MAARTEN: Our first port day was 7 am to 3:30 pm. We slept in a little, had a light breakfast in the unicorn, and then caught a water taxi ($5 for trips all day) into the city. With six ships in port, the city and taxi drivers were busy. We visited all the shops we were interested in and took our purchases back to the ship, and then changed clothes to head over to Orient Beach. We road the water taxi into the city again, then caught a cab there to Orient Beach. The taxi driver said, “Turn right for the nude beach, and turn left for the less-nude beach.” We turned left. Orient Beach was a hub bub of activity. Lots of chairs, umbrellas, restaurants, and bars lined the beach, with music, food and drinks. Parasailing and jet skis were available for rental. We wondered down the beach until one of the restaurants tempted us. We shared a large plate of grilled swordfish – delicious, and settled into chairs for a relaxing afternoon with rum punches and sun. We did see some nudity along this beach, but it was really no big deal … really. When we returned to the ship, and the ship started pulling away from the port, a guy was running up the pier shouting for the ship to wait. Lots of people took his picture, so I bet he can find it on the Internet somewhere. I doubt he’ll ever be late for a ship again. Upon returning to the ship, we got ready for the evening again, and once again enjoyed our dinner meal alone. Tonight was the next big show with the Carnival Legend Dancers performing Jazz Hot. It was a great show. DAY FIVE – BARBADOS: Our second port day was Noon to 9:30 pm. Another relaxing morning to wake up slowly, have a leisurely breakfast, and sun until we were pulling into port. It was fun watching the ship dock. We shopped at the port shops, then caught a taxi for a tour of the island. Our tour guide was only so-so, but this is a beautiful island. At the conclusion of the tour, we asked him to drop us off at the Boatyard. The Boatyard is such a happening place. We arrived after 3 in the afternoon, and the crowd was already clearing out. We were about to use their facilities to change into our beach wear. Our entrance fee got us chairs, umbrellas, and a couple of drinks. Again jet skis and parasailing was available, and there was a trampoline and rope swing for play out in the water. We were approached by several native vendors, and I’m a sucker for those folks. Ended up buying some jewelry and a really cool small painting! The drinks were strong. We had our very first ever fried flying fish – wow, great stuff. Someone said happy hour was starting in the bar, so the crowds starting moving up to the bars. We were the last to leave the beach after we enjoyed a wonderful sunset. Taxi drivers were wondering up and down the beach looking for fares, and we asked each of them where the best restaurant was on the beach. They all recommended Lobster Alive that was in walking distance down the beach. So, we gathered our stuff to go there. It was a small hut right on the beach, with tablecloths and candlelight, soft music and ambience. Here’s how their menu describes the “Main Event (Live from the Tank)”: “Southern Caribbean lobsters are mostly big and well meated. Our prices are by weight per serving as in our suggestions below. Servings are usually one half of a split lobster. Par-boiled in seawater, to order, then finished in the shell on the barbeque with heaps of garlic butter!! Variations at your request.” The small serving was $70 and the extra large serving was $100. On our first formal night aboard the ship, I sent back the lobster again, and I intend to never eat the lobster in the dining room of a Carnival ship again. It simply is not good! The lobster served at Lobster Alive was fabulous, and I was so happy to enjoy it. Lots of cruise ship passengers were there with us, and we were all taking pictures for one another. The servers in the restaurant were delightful and personable as well. When we were ready to leave, they had a taxi driver right outside to return us to our ship. We were so tired, we went straight to bed, with wonderful dreams and memories of our day in Barbados! We missed the Talent Show this night. DAY SIX -- MARTINIQUE: This was a short port day from 7 am to 1:30 pm. We had heard so many negatives things about trips into the city, we opted to take a ship excursion called Fun, Sun, and Sailing that didn’t leave until 10:30 am. That allowed us to sleep in and again enjoy a nice breakfast, before joining our excursion. Two catamarans picked us up right next to the ship. We sailed for about 45 minutes across the water, while the catamaran’s French crew entertained us and served us drinks and snacks. One of the crew posed each couple for pictures all around the catamaran. During the return trip back home, he showed us our digital pictures, with options to buy a CD of the pictures – they were really good pictures, but his prices were high. The sail across the water was very relaxing and we enjoyed the sun and the water. We anchored in a small cove of a black sand beach. Some of the passengers, including Roger, snorkeled right off the boat up by the cliffs. The rest of us, including me, took a small skiff ashore. After about an hour, we all boarded again to head to the bat caves. We took turns visiting the bat caves in the small skiff. They were both interesting and smelly. Then we took another 45 minutes to sail back to the ship. A wonderful day in Martinique! We arrived as the ship was sounding it’s horn signaling it’s impending departure. When we arrived at dinner tonight, we asked our waiters to invite another couple they were serving who were also eating alone if they’d like to join us. They did, and it was our most enjoyable dinner in the dining room all week. After dinner, we went to the show to see Hypnotist Mike Harvey, a very interesting show before bedtime. DAY SEVEN: Our third sea day was also our second Formal Night. We enjoyed hanging out on the deck all day, with breakfast and lunch in the Unicorn nearby. Earlier in the week, we had asked our lead server, Davor, which night would be best to book the Golden Fleece Supper Club. He suggested either the night we were in St. Maarten or our second formal night, so we had booked a table in the Golden Fleece Supper Club for this night. The food was very good, and the service was excellent. Eating at the Supper Club made me realize what I missed in the dining room. The servers are moving so fast and furious all the time trying to move every person at every table through all the courses. When we were seated in the Supper Club, we were informed that this was our table for the whole night, no hurry. There were so many good selections in each course, it was hard to select just one. I settled on the Surf and Turf, trepidatiously, but both the steak and lobster were good. It was well worth the $25 charge for the food and service we received. Unfortunately our table was behind a divider where we couldn’t see the entertainers or the dance floor. So, we only wondered out to the dance floor once, even though we both love to dance. After dinner, we went to the show, Take II, starring the Carnival Legend Dancers, which again was very good. DAY EIGHT: Our last sea day – our last leisurely breakfast and relaxing day in the sun. We went to try to “Win a Cruise” at bingo, before the Debarkation talk. There was no early disembarkation on this ship, so we had to get tags to allow us to be among the first to leave the ship, because our flight home was at 11:30 am. After lunch, we opted to relax on the deck in the sun for most of the afternoon, and one last dinner with Davor and Margarette, who were wonderful. We visited a couple of bars after dinner, but decided to go to bed early after packing our bags and placing them outside our doors. DISEMBARKATION: We awoke early and grabbed coffee and a quick bite for breakfast before joining the early departure group. We had no problem finding our luggage, because we tied the Carnival bags from all the pictures we purchased on the handles. We caught a taxi back to the airport and only waited a short time before returning home in time to relax in our own home watching the Super Bowl. On our return US Airways flights, we were seated together all the way home – very nice. All in all, another wonderful cruise. Our activities were much different on this cruise than on others, but still a wonderful cruise. RECOMMENDATIONS: Golden Fleece Supper Club, David Davol playing his guitar in the Colussus, Danquale the bartender in the Sports Bar, Orient Beach in St. Maarten, Boatyard in Barbados, a meal at Lobster Alive at the Boatyard in Barbados, eat some flying fish in Barbados, Martinique ship excursion “Fun, Sun, and Sailing”, the Blue Moon Fish Company and Athena’s Grill by the Sea in Fort Lauderdale THINGS NOT TO DO: Ramada Fort Lauderdale Airport/Port Everglades, US Airways Pictures can be seen by following this link: http://community.webshots.com/user/judyjbest

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Jan 15, 2004

Belize, Costa Rica, Panama

PRECRUISE: This was my first cruise and enjoyed every minute of it. It was to set sail out of Ft. Lauderdale 4pm on Friday and returning Saturday 7am. We decided to take a flight down the night before because we are from the NY area and didn't want to chance a snow storm. I'm glad we did because it was very stress free the day our cruise left. We also called Carnival a few times before the cruise to check if the prices have dropped.

We saved $200 doing this EMBARKMENT: Boarding was set to begin @ 1PM out of Port Everglades. We decided to go there early and see if we could get on the ship early. We arrived at the port @ 12:15 and were surprised to see a line out of the building already. I would suggest if you have nothing else to do, go there even earlier, perhaps 1 1/2 hours before scheduled embarkment. Embarkment took 1 1/2 so it was a little longer than I thought but I didn't care too much. Cabin: I was on deck 5 with a oabstructed view. It had a king bed with a private balcony which was very nice. I couldn't imagine doing a cruise without a balcony. The partial obstruction was a lifeboat at foot level. It didn't obstruct anything when you looked straight ahead but you couldn't see directly down at the waives crashing off the boats. The room was very spacious and I was very happy with it. With the automatic gratuity and the room, it came to $1,050.00 PP. We also so a suite as well and for an extra $150pp it is a must next time. I heard these sell out months in advance. They have double balcony (15ft or so), double sink, jacuzzi, wood floors, awesome... Dinner/Food: We opted for the late seating..8:15. The food was good, nothing great. Some nights I ordered two entries cause I just couldn't make up my mind. There were two formal nights were they stepped up the quality of the food. It was much better than the other nights. We also tried the supper club/Golden Fleece restaurant. This is a must. We did this twice, both times on non formal nights. It's $25pp extra a night but the food was some of the best I ever had. A jacket is also required. Between 2 formal nights and 2 nights in the Golden Fleece, I had to wear a jacket 4 nights, so bring a sport coat, couple of shirts and a suit and you'll be fine. Breakfast is good in Truffel's in the morning but since we didn't get up til 10 or so on some days, we did the breakfast buffet most of the time. Lunch is also good, you'll find something to fill you up. The only problem I had with the late seating was by the time the midnight buffet started, I wasn't hungry so I might consider early seating next time. BELIZE: You have to tender off the ship for this, we decided to do cave tubing for $85pp. It was incredible. after an hour bus ride, the walk through the jungle is cake and the tubing is not dangerous. There's a couple of small rapids but easily managable. The caves were so cool and you have to bring an underwater camera. If you really want to get into this, I guy had his own bright spot light and a profesinal underwater camera. You might need something like that because the pictures don't come out that well. We got back on the bus and had lunch at a restaurant "Cheers" that was out in the middle of nowhere. After that we went back to the tourist village and checked out the shops. It was funny to see what the pharmacy there was selling. They were selling all prescription drugs..perkased,all sorts for a nickel each. Great time overall. Costa Rica: Our favorite place. We decided to not not an excursion with the boat but go out on our own for Costa Rica. When you get off the boat, walk past all the people trying to offer you excursions and walk past the tents selling merchandise and go into the air conditioned building there. We hooked up with a travel agent there and he took us on a ride through the city, then he took us to us on a boat through the jungle. We saw all sorts of birds,crocs,sloths and he told us all about them. After an hour or so we returned back in the van and he dropped us off at a local beach 10 minutes away from the boats. What a great beach, the locals were nice, had some $2 local beers and the water was so warm. We dried off and he was right there waiting for us. This whole day trip took about 3 1/2- 4hours. We only paid $20 pp for this when carnival wanted $70 just for the boat ride. After this great day, we figured out how to work the system. Panama: We did the same thing as Belize. We got off the boat with no plan. Cabbies and Tour guides are all over the place. We went with a great tour guide and he took us to the panama canal. We stayed there for about an hour watching boats go through. It's amazing seeing in person. After that he took us on a city tour stopping at various hotels and other interests. This also cost us $20 pp when the ship wanted $100 or so. Don't be afraid to do things on your own, carnival will tell you that it's dangerous but I didn't feel threatened at all. Carnival just wants the extra $$$$$. Casino: I got killed in here. It seems everything is against you. I gamble alot and been to many casinos, but this one had my number. Keep it under control here and don't play as aggressive as you would normally do at other places. The casino is very standard. 1 craps table which isn't even open all the time. Couple of BJ tables, not much else. Dealers are friendly but keep your eyes on them because they make alot of mistakes. We did Bingo 1 night, don't do it. Save your money. They charge you $10 a card and there's only 1 game to win $500. There were 500 people in the room playing each paying at least 10 to win 500. You do the math. Overall: It seemed the ship was filled with older people. The average age was at least 55-60. We like to have a good time but since there were not alot of young people 25-40, thing were a little quiet. We went with another couple so we still had a great time. Didn't have a problem with the older crowd, but things seemed a little dead at times. The shops are nice on the boat"Rodeao Drive". I brought my own cigarettes on board thinking they were going to charge me alot but they ended up selling carton for $18 a pop. Limited choices..Marlboro,Salem...The pool was great. We had beautiful weather. The chares go quickly so get there early or just sit in the pool unti they open up. The ship was beautiful and will definitley be back for a second cruise.

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Sep 17, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

This was our fist cruise.. We took off from New York City the day hurricane Isabel made its entrance. The first night was very hard for a lot of people. Many had motion sickness patches behind their ears because the 12-to 15 foot waves were rocking everyone sick. About a day of constant rocking.. I finally got to enjoy the ship. There were quite a few of those grey urns other people had talked about in previous reviews..

but it just added more elegance to the ship. The ship itself was unbelievable and the food was out of this world. Every waiter and person who worked on this ship went out of their way to make you feel very comfortable. There was always something to do and if you felt like having a bored day.. you could! We have a 3 year old daughter who we left at home but next cruise.. and you can be sure it will be with Carnival, we will be taking her. They had a babysitting service right there on the boat. It was one vacation I didn't want to leave. The only BAD thing was that someone had gotten very sick and we had to sidetrack and drop them off in Bermuda... we missed our port of call in Puerto Rico and continued on to St. Thomas. We were all reimbursed only $25.00 for the inconvenience.. which is something but a major disappointment for many of us. To make up for the lost day on the island, a lot of passengers thought we should get more island time.. we didn't but what can you do?!!! Overall, this was a great cruise and we can't wait to do it again. Happy Cruising!!

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Sep 17, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

This was my wife’s & I fourth cruise. We were looking for a September cruise date leaving from NYC or Philadelphia on a large ship (which we figure would provide a more stable ride). This narrowed the choices down to a handful of ships and we picked this one for its itinerary. We waited until two weeks before the cruise departure date hoping for a better price – which worked. The price dropped a couple of hundred dollars by our delayed

purchase (though I’m not sure I would recommend this procedure for all people - except for those people who have flexible travel schedules). We did most of our research about the ships (itineraries and pricing) over the internet, but booked passage directly through Carnival (whose prices matched Travelocity, Yahoo, etc.) Arrival Day: Very smooth, however we were very anxious the few days leading up to the departure date. Hurricane Isabel came into the area the same day we left. I wish the Carnival website would provide postings if there were any anticipated changes in schedule or itineraries before departure. The web site only mentioned the previous cruise had a change. When I called the Carnival customer service number all they would say is that Carnival would call departure morning if they had a change. As it worked out the hurricane did not affect us too much, but I feel the company could have done a better job of informing the passengers about the latest status. However, as I mentioned, once in New York, the check in procedure went fairly quickly and efficiently. There were no long lines and everyone was pleasant. Cabin: We booked an inside cabin on level 7. This is the second time we’re had an inside cabin. We did this to save a little money and when we booked the room, Carnival “upgraded” us from a lower floor to an upper floor (I’m not sure if moving 3 or 4 levels really constitutes an upgrade if the room is identical). The room was nice, but smaller than one we had on a NCL ship. In Carnival’s favor was that the bathroom was the most efficient one I have seen, plus they provided bar soap in addition to liquid soap. Note: The hair dryer was located in the room and not the bathroom. The problem with inside cabins is that once you turn the lights off, it becomes very dark – so you have no idea what time it is. I recommend Carnival add clocks in the future. The housekeeping staff was excellent. We did not try room service but we did hear there were some minor problems. Ship: Very good. I thought the layout of the boat intelligent and logical. Many elevators, and except for when a show let out, usually never a long wait for one to show up. I believe the ship was only a year or two old and thought it was in very good condition. The staff seemed to keep it very clean (there seemed to be more smokers among the passengers than my previous cruises). My wife thought the decorations were a little extreme or gaudy. The first 24 – 48 hours the boat did rock a bit due to the hurricane but I’ve been on much worse on some airplane trips. Food: Good but not great, but the service in the main dining room was very good (kudos to Nestor & Martin!). We had the early seating (starts at 5:45 PM) though if I had to do it over again, I would probably book the late seating because we usually had lunch around 1 PM or later and wasn’t really hungry for diner. The menus change every night, but the menus usually consist of a chicken, beef, fish, pasta, and vegetarian entree’s. (I recommend taking the galley tour – you don’t get to see how the food is prepared, but do get to see how large a kitchen the boat has). Most nights the waiters do a short show at the end of diner. There was one restaurant which you could book a reservation and costs an additional $25 per person. Even though we did not try it, the meal is more elaborate – 7 courses rather then the usual 4 and the servings looked larger. In addition to the main restaurant there is the Unicorn café where we had most of our breakfasts and lunches. The variety is greater but the food quality I could only grade as being fair. We tried having diner there once – and do not recommend it. However, there were a couple of midnight buffets which we tried one – and I thought it very good (though the concept of having a fourth meal for the day seems too much). Entertainment: Fair. There is a show in the Follies lounge (main showroom) usually with two seatings. I liked the second major dance show a couple of the singers, but the other shows were only so-so in my opinion. Also, a couple of the shows were at midnight to allow for an adult crowd. Considering it was past Labor Day, I don’t think there were too many children on board the boat. Other cruises I’ve been on didn’t seem to have a problem with PG versus R rated entertainment. The best music seemed to be the band that played in Satchmo’s lounge, but the disco was rather weak (again catering to the teenage crowd before 11 PM). Casino: Acceptable. We are not real gamblers, but they looked like they had all the regular games needed (though I wish they had a $2 blackjack table Ports of Call: One of the reasons we choose this cruise. However, we missed Puerto Rico because one the passengers got seriously ill and the ship had to detour (to the Bahamas?) to unload the person to the nearest hospital. Though most of the passengers were disappointed in missing 1 of the 3 stops we mostly understood the necessity. Carnival did credit our accounts $25 per person for the interruption. Carnival does provide a list of ship excursions, but none of them jumped out and they seemed to be pricey for what they were (an example below). Both ports of call we went to the ship docked right at the island, meaning we did not have to use a tender. Saint Thomas: We arrived early and got off the boat around 8 AM. Not much is open, so we walked around the immediate area and decided to rent a car from Avis (cost about $45). You drive on the left hand side, but the cars are probably imported from the US because the steering wheel is on the expected side. Traffic around where the boat dock is crowded in the afternoon. We drove to Coki beach (next to Coralworld or Waterworld) and went snorkeling (parking is a little difficult to find). Even though the beach is not very large, it is probably one of the best places I’ve been to snorkel - lots of interesting fish and coral. We had lunch downtown where there are lots of stores and stuff to buy gifts, t-shirts, etc. If one wanted, one could probably walk from the boat to downtown – it seemed about 2 miles or so. Tortola (British Virgin Island): Again we arrived early. Though the island is pleasant we were recommended to take a ferry to another island – Virgin Gorda. To do this, we had to walk 12 minutes to the ferry dock and wait ‘till 9AM for the ferry. Once you arrive on Virgin Gorda a taxi (small bus) will take you to the “Baths” – a beach with some rock formations which one can walk through. The cost was $25 per person. The exact same tour purchased though the Carnival shore excursion is $75 per person (Carnival should be ashamed of themselves for gouging people like this). The only difference was instead of walking to the ferry, they had a boat pick them up next to the ship. Visit http://www.speedysbvi.com/ for more information. We also did some snorkeling at this beach – not as many fish, but some interesting coral. Departure Day: This worked out very well. If you decide you can carry your entire bags one can opt to carry them off yourselves. Therefore you do not need to leave your luggage outside your room the night before and wonder if they might get lost. Additionally, those people who opt for the carry-off get to leave the ship first. Tipping: Like some other cruises we had before, there was an automatic tip added to our bill (it was something like $10/day per person. Since the service was very good we added a little extra per person. As for our end-of-voyage bill, we had no discrepancies, but then again, we did not have that many items. Summary: I can say this was a very pleasant experience for my wife and me. If I was to do it again, I would probably choose a cruise with less sea days (with the detour we had 5 out of 7) – but this is a matter of opinion. The ship was well organized and staffed and I can recommend this cruise to others.

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Sep 9, 2003

San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola

This is not going to be a positive review, so if you don't want to have your "dream vacation" critiqued, don't read any further. We arrived at the Pier at 1pm and where confronted by passengers that had disembarked and still waiting for transportation. They were not a happy group and began to issue warnings to us about bad weather poor services and the like. When we finally were able to access the area the terminal we were greeted by

mass confusion, serpentine lines that were constantly being breeched and an inadequate number of staff directing us by waving a bunch of papers over their heads saying US citizens to the right,and aliens to the left. We had been told we should inform the officials we were Skipper Class eligible since we had a category ll suite. That was our first and Biggest mistake. We were directed to go left to the line with the aliens, green carded residents. This line was absolutely bottle necked but we went. We then checked with another "official" if we were correctly lined up and were told, no, go into the right line with the other Americans. We got to the back of the right line and then another alleged expert again told us to go to the left line for Skippy Club boarding. That was were the facilitated boarding was. While in the left line again we began to talk with other hopeful passengers and found that they had been given a paper on entering the terminal informing them that the trip was on a diverted destination due to hurricane Isabel. I guess this was what the first official was using to wave us into the lines instead of distributing them. Most of us had no idea that we were going to Key West,Nassau and Freeport, inlieu of San Juan, ST. Thomas, and Tortola. After standing or creeping along serpentine lines for several hours we arrived at the desk to show our boarding materials and they attempted to send us over to the right line since they said the line we were on was only for greed card, non American travelers. Feature that! At about 4:10 p.m we finally were in our Cabin. The "reason" interminable delay was "power failure." Not a very auspicious beginning. In our cabin we were greeted by dirty countertops and a banana that had been partially eaten and left by the previous occupant obviously. Our cabin steward apologized and excused this with the fact that they had been tied up with immigration all morning but he would see to it immediately. We left the cabin to go to the Unicorn Cafe to get something to eat since we had not had anything since our breakfast at 9a.m. When we arrived up on the 9th level the Unicorn Cafe was being closed up. It was time for life boat drill. Back down to the cabins, life jackets on, to our Muster stations and orientation as to what to do in case we needed to abandon ship. I should have gone overboard then and not continued. Anyway we continued. At 8:15 we located our dining area, met our table companions and started the cruise officially in my mind. That was when the photographer made his first appearance on the scene and this was to continue, unabated for the next 8 days. He was snapping away, whether someone had bread in the hand, bringing up to eat or eyes closed, NO opportunity to look into camera. Oh no on to the next table. I felt that the entire cruise was an opportunity for the cruise line to constantly sell their wares, from photos to drinks and even special cakes and coffee. But perhaps since this was my first cruise I am just sensitive to the constant barrage of people asking for your sign and sail card for everything but the meal. The show that was the center piece of the trip out was postponed due to the rough seas and scheduled for the following night. Then after several aborted attempts to do it , it was cancelled due to a malfunction in the computer or something. No show for us. We arrived Sat. in Key West. We took an excursion that we booked onboard and were jimied in from the pier and waited in line again for the trolley ride around Key West. It is $5.00 cheaper if you purchase it at the trolley itself. I suggest you don't go on it at all. It's a waste of money. Back on board and off to Nassau. Sunday we got into town and found that many of the stores were closed because it was Sunday. But the stores that have contracted with Carnival and are guaranteed by them, were open and willing to do business. They were pleasant and accomodating and willing to bargain in the jewelry area. Hopefully what they charged was fair. But you must have an appraisal done within 30 days and make sure you fill out the carnival guarantee form. They are at the pursers desk and the excursion desk. Freeport was very very disappointing and I bought nothing and spent little time there. The taxis or actually vans charge $4.00 per person each way. Only hitch in this is if you don't want to stay in Freeport until 2pm (I didn't) they up the fare to $8.00 to go back. I refused to pay that and we eventually hooked up with 2 other shipmates and got taken back at 1pm. If you do go, don't go to town, go to LaCaya beach area. We were told that is better. Town is sort of like the burned out buildings in the south Bronx for you New Yorkers reading this. Back on board for our cruise home we were greeted by severiously rough seas and everyone seemed to be doing the Conga line as we negotiated the ships decks. I actually enjoyed this since the seas were so exciting with the very high swells and white caps. It did take a little planning to stay in lower shoes to improve your balance so take that into consideration when you are planning what to pack. We did have a very accomodating Head Server named Jana. She was extremely helpful and efficient. Her assistant server was I believe, Leonardo. He was quite scarce since he had retrieve the food two decks down and cover a lot of tables bringing the bread, water, iced tea, etc. The gratuity is automatically placed on your account, despite what your travel agent might tell you. That doesn't prohibit you from giving additional monies if you think the service was excellent. We took care of everyone additionally, including the maitre D'. There was a buffet that was done in the restaurant. This was very grand and the work of the chef and his staff was beautiful. The ice scuptures, and the garde mange work was truly breathtaking. We were allowed to tour the buffet for picture taking and then it was clear ofpeople for 15 minutes and reopened. but only for one hour to get thru and eat etc and then we watched them dismantle the scuptures etc. We were feeling rushed and that seemed to permeate a lot of the meals during breakfast and lunch. Both are open seating and there is a feeling conveyed of "get them in, get them out" and this was very apparent every day not just according to which waiter you might get. The room service was a much better option except that there is no hot food available. They were, however, always on time, pleasant and cheerful. Tip them well. The art auctions were great. The auctioneer is a very amusing guy as well. The other venues are slick but enjoyable. Overall I would have to say it was an interesting experience but the ship is over decorated and although the theme is legends it gets lost in the decor of urns, scrolling paint, and the expanse of legengs from Narcissus to Jackie Robinson. I prefer Jackie being an old Dodger fan. But it is just TOO MUCH. Sort of a floating Donald Trump Taj Mahal. It is expensively decorated with bad taste. The casino was fun but the slots are TIGHT ! The best music was in the cigar lounge and that was not pleasant to sit in and I am a smoker. But if you can handle it and like Jazz the bass player is great. Some of the other clubs were too loud and too much rock for my taste. If someone asked me if I would cruise again I would say yes, probably not with Carnival and certainly not for 8 days. Then there is also the question of when. Avoid the hurricane season if you want to be guaranteed a certain port of call and then hold your breath that all goes well. Disembarking was much smoother and more efficient. Remember to leave your nightgown out of the suitcase before you put it out the night before!

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Sep 9, 2003

Eastern Caribbean- but itinerary changed!

1st! I wasn't planning on reviewing our honeymoon cruise, but after reading a scathing review from someone else, I had to! We sailed 9-10-2003 from NYC pier. The experience was very different from leaving Miami. It's more like a dirty warehouse piled high with people. However, my new husband and I somehow managed to navigate the non-existant line easily, and got on ship with no problem. We arrived at the pier at 11:00, and were on

the boat at 11:45-12:00! I swear we were one of the first ones, because the boat was practically empty and we had our run of the ship for about 3 hours (it seemed like there were only about 50 other people on board)!! We found out later that there had been a computer glitch back at the pier, and WE WERE the only 100 or so people on the boat for 3 hours. I hate to say it, but it was nice for us. While we had been waiting in line, we were handed a letter from Carnival stating the itinerary had changed from St. Thomas, St. John, San Juan, Tortola to.......Key West, Nassau (Bahamas), and Freeport (Bahamas)...this was due to the hurricane that was heading right towards the E. Caribbean. We were a little disappointed, as the Bahamas is kind of a dirty place, and definitely not as exotic as our original destinations. But, ummmm, what can you do???? I wanted to ask this to ALL OF the ANNOYING people around me in line, who loudly complained about the itinerary change, non-stop!!! Carnival gave each cabin $100 credit on their account- which was a nice little idea- however, I feel it was appropriate to give each PASSENGER this amount, rather than each cabin. I was just happy to go someplace warm. Okay, back on board....our cabin was immaculate, and larger than expected! Our cabin steward greeted us almost immediately, all smiles. He was the most professional steward that I have ever had. We had a new towel animal every night too, which is always fun. I won't totally review the islands, since I don't think that this boat normally goes to these ports. I will say that Key West is beautiful, but the beaches were very rocky. Nassau, Bahamas is not a clean town, but the beaches were very nice. Freeport, Bahamas was better than Nassau, but again, stick to the beaches. We took a Booze Cruise (Party Boat) at Nassau, and it was well worth the money. The boat was fun, the Calypso band on the boat was a blast, and the bartenders topped all of my free drinks with 151 Rum. The private island where the boat took us, was tiny and picturesque- and the most beautiful beach that we experienced on our cruise. Needless, to say I don't remember it all because of the free-flowing rum drinks, except we had a blast, and met a lot of fun people. Somehow, in my crazed state, I managed to win the limbo contest! The food was very good on this cruise. Literally, all of it! Great selection, and great taste. My husband is kinda picky, and he loved everything! Our servers were really good- great attitudes, and great service. We ate in the formal dining room for almost all of the meals, to avoid the cafeteria crowds on the Lido deck. But even the few lunches when we ate on the Lido deck, the food was fantastic. Our table-mates weren't really that much fun. They didn't want to try any of the food (because they didn't know what it was, or hadn't had it before). The wife stared at my sushi, and lobster- couldn't believe I was eating THAT. Anyways, they only came to dinner 2 and 1/2 times (once they left after looking at the menu), and ate in the cafeteria all of the rest of the time. That was fine, as they didn't seem too interested in holding much conversation anyway. It was hard though, to look around at all of the other tables having fun with their table-mates. I wish we had been at a table of 8-10, instead of 4. I noticed on this ship, that people didn't seem to dress up as I am accustomed- on one of the formal nights, I actually felt over-dressed, in a long, slinky, straight black dress. I've never felt that way before on a ship. My husband wore a suit, which I told him was required, only to see people in jeans at dinner??!!! The piano bar was a blast, and the piano player was so much fun, and such a great story-teller, entertainer. It was annoying that some guests seemed to hog the microphone (there was a professional wedding singer on our cruise- need I say more?), but this was our favorite night-spot! The discothèque was hard to figure out, as every time we tried to go, it was closed. I think it opened really late, and lots of teenagers seemed to hang around outside of it. The casino was great, and the dealers were really personable. We didn't win much, but didn't lose much. Just had fun! We did win $200 in Bingo one night though!! As far as kids on the ship, there were VERY few. Really, I hardly ever saw any, and NEVER saw any in the hot tubs. I think that the kids camp on board does a great job of stashing them someplace!! The one really weird thing about this cruise, was that everyone was from NY or NJ. EVERYONE! I've never left on a cruise from NYC before, but I guess I assumed it would draw a similar demographic that Miami draws. I think it's fun to meet people from all over, and there wasn't a lot of that. If we told people that we were from Ohio (because no one ever asked where you were from- they assumed NY, NJ), they looked at us strange, and said, "OH, why did you take THIS cruise???" It was weird. I guess we Ohioans should stick to cruising the Ohio river. Getting off the ship was such a breeze. We got in line early, with our two suitcases, and hanging bag (we didn't check it the night before), and were the 10th couple off of the boat!! It was so easy and fast. There were polite cabdrivers waiting as we walked off, and they carried our bags the rest of the way. It was the most organized ship-debarkation ever. However, There was a woman who tried to cut into line right before they let us off the boat. She literally put her suitcase in line, and stood there. The passenger directly behind her said something, and she yelled and cursed at him, and then yelled at the crew, who tried to move her to the end of the line (about 300 people long by now). After about 5-10 minutes of haggling, she finally moved, but complained the whole time about what jerks everyone was. Overall, we had a great time- the only thing that we didn't always like was our fellow cruisers, who could be selfish and rude at times. First time cruisers, BEWARE, cruises don't always draw the classiest of people. Almost everyone is fun-loving, but there is a little bit of trash too. But other than that, 8 great days! We ate and drank a lot, didn't spend a ton of money (really, they gave you almost anything you could want), and really enjoyed the ship, our crew, and the beautiful weather, Even with Hurricane Isabel somewhere near, the weather was incredible!! We will cruise again, and would consider Carnival again...we're wondering if the guests are a little different on other lines.....

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Aug 8, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

About us – We are in our very early 50’s with a 21 year old son. We’ve each been on 10 previous cruises. The three of us went on this cruise. The itinerary and the convenience of sailing out of NY really appealed to us. If you were on board – I was the guy wearing the Cruise Critic hat all week. Getting there and embarkation - We had sailed out of NY 5 times before this cruise and thought we had the routine down pretty well.

Figured we would leave the house about 11:30 AM and be on board by around 1:00 PM. Wow, were we wrong! There were 5 ships in port that day and traffic was a nightmare. I was finally able to drop off my wife and son with the luggage around 1:30 PM and go park on the roof of the terminal. The line inside the terminal led first to the “Welcome Aboard Picture” and then snaked around to the actual check-in lines. The lines were long and moving slowly. The Carnival reps were checking paperwork as we got on line, but somehow the ladies who wound up ahead of us on the check-in line got that far without filling out any paperwork. So we had to wait while they stood there filling out the forms. We finally boarded a little after 3:00 PM, and for the first time ever, all our luggage had gotten to our room before us. We were in cabin 5299, which is an aft facing cabin on the upper deck, with an extended balcony. The cabin was very nice, had two twin beds pushed together plus a sofa bed. Closet space was ample for the three of us. We had a bite to eat and went off to explore the ship. The ship - The Carnival Legend is a beautiful ship! I had read about “the urns” but found that all the décor was really nice, including the urns. There are more lounges than I can remember, a nice size casino, a library, a chapel, and the fastest elevators on the seven seas! The layout and design were generally pretty good, but there were a few things I did not care for. In the Follies lounge, where the nightly shows are presented, there are several poles which obstruct the lines of sight; there is very little, if any, slope to the main floor so viewing from the rear of the lounge can be somewhat difficult at times with all the heads in front of you; and there is no bar service on the upper level due to the layout and design of that level. The Truffles dining room is two levels and the majority of the seating is designed for 2’s and 4’s. There were not that many large tables and the ones they had were taken by larger groups. We were disappointed by this design because we enjoy sitting at a large table and meeting people. We had a booth which sat just the three of us. On the outside, there is a lack of lounge chairs in the shade, which is something we have always enjoyed on other ships. But all in all, we really liked this ship! Service – This is an area where I feel Carnival is lacking. Most of the service we received (purser, cabin steward, dining room, Lido buffet, and bar waiters) I can only describe as adequate but very perfunctory. On other lines (Royal Caribbean and Celebrity in particular) we have always felt pampered. I don’t know whether this has anything to do with the automatic tipping, but the attitude of many of the staff was not very caring or hospitable. Our cabin steward was a complete idiot. Other than cleaning the room and turning down the beds at night she obviously didn’t want to be bothered with anything else. We asked her several times to unlock the mini-bar, but she never did. After the second request, I went to the purser and removed all the automatic tips for the cabin steward from our account. We asked the steward why there were no bathrobes in the cabin and after 2 days of stories and excuses we went to the purser to find out why there were no bathrobes in the cabin. It was news to the purser, and after making a few phone calls the purser had room service deliver bathrobes to our cabin. Carnival also provides beach towels each day to take ashore if you are going to the beach. One night she took the used beach towels from our room but didn’t replace them. Unfortunately we didn’t find out until about 11:30 PM when we came back to the room. The problem was we had to be off the ship and on the pier in Tortola at 8:00 AM the next morning for our excursion. We paged her, but since she was off duty the call was rerouted to room service who told us the laundry was closed and they couldn’t help us. So, it was back to the purser who also didn’t want to be bothered. At this point I asked for the hotel manager but he was also unavailable, so I left a message. I also asked the purser to inform the cabin steward that if we did not have beach towels when we left the ship then I planned to purchases towels from the gift shop at the beach and the cost was coming off her tip. I went back to the room and not 15 minutes later there was a knock at the door and someone from room service was standing there with 3 beach towels. Finally, on the last night, I had to call to find out where the liquor was that we had purchased and she was supposed to deliver to our room. She gave us some lame excuse about the “do not disturb” sign hanging on the door. I pointed out to her that was the “please make up room” sign which had been hanging there since the morning. I was going to leave her no tip at all, but my wife and son made me feel a little guilty so we agreed to put back some of it on the account. Food - The dining room food was not spectacular but was pretty good. Unfortunately, the dining room service was very inconsistent. Our head waiter and assistant at our assigned table for dinner were superb! However, at the open seating for lunch, the service left a bit to be desired. We had to continually ask to have our water or iced tea refilled, and had to request coffee with the dessert. One afternoon the waiter actually brought coffee for my wife and me and ignored the other 4 people at the table. I’m still waiting for the salad that guy was supposed to bring me. The Lido buffet was good, but we found it repetitious and it became boring after a few days. The burgers and hot dogs were good and the pizza was very good. It seemed that whenever we went to get lunch there, the lines were long and weren’t moving very well, so more often than any cruise before we ate lunch in the dining room. We did not try the Golden Fleece or the midnight buffets so I can’t offer any opinion on those. Room service had us laughing the whole week. I give them an A+ for promptness and C for accuracy. We ordered room service breakfast five times and some occasional snacks. Breakfast always arrived at the exact time we requested and the snacks came very quickly. The only problem was we never knew exactly what they were going to actually deliver. They would leave out items, add items, forget cups or napkins or silverware. On three mornings they came back a second time (on their own) with the missing cups or food. It became pretty funny. Upon uncovering the dishes one morning we discovered that they delivered enough food to feed a small army. They must have combined our order with 2 or 3 others and delivered it all to us. We had enough fruit to fill an orchard and a platter of Danish and croissants big enough to open our own bakery. They did get the cereal correct. The eight coffee cups should have tipped us off (since there were only 3 of us) but we were still half asleep when it arrived. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Legends café where they serve (for a small charge) specialty coffees and some yummy desserts. I particularly liked the black forest cake. Activities – The assortment of activities on board were fun but I felt there should have been more, especially geared toward adults. Maybe after 10 previous cruises a lot of this stuff is old hat, but at times I was actually a little bored. It felt like they took the activities from a typical 7 day cruise and stretched them into 8 days instead of adding some extras considering all the time we had at sea.. Entertainment – The entertainment was great! From the shows in the Follies lounge to the music in the various other lounges. Whatever your taste in music it seemed there was something for everyone. Fellow passengers – We had a very diverse group of passengers and everyone we talked to was really nice. In our section of the dining room, the dress code seemed to be anything goes. On formal night most men wore suits and some tuxes. But there were quite a few wearing dockers and polo shirts and a few with jeans. On nights designated as “casual elegance” quite a few interpreted that to mean clean jeans. There were a lot of little kids on board, but we hardly noticed them. I wonder where camp Carnival hid them? Some of the older kids were running around the ship and at times were a bit obnoxious. On the last night, around 10:00 PM, as we were packing we heard a series of loud banging/crashing noises outside. We went out on our balcony to see what had happened and it turned out that someone had attempted to throw a lounge chair overboard. It hit several balconies on the way down and came to rest hanging over the rail of the balcony next door to us. Thank goodness nobody was hurt! We called security to report it and we later heard that there was a bunch of drunk teens up on the Lido deck creating a ruckus. It’s a shame security couldn’t throw them overboard. The ports – We were lazy this time around and booked all our tours through the ship. San Juan – We arrived in the afternoon which limited what we could do. We took the Bacardi Rum Factory tour since we had never done that before. It was actually pretty interesting and of course we bought a few bottles. After bringing the liquor back to the ship, we walked over to Senor Frogs for a few drinks and appetizers. Then it was back to the ship for dinner. St. Thomas – We decided on the St. John island tour, which was basically a trip to Trunk Bay. Trunk Bay was beautiful! Wish we would have had a little more time there. Back on St. Thomas we took a taxi downtown for some shopping and got back on board about an hour before sailing. Tortola – My wife and I took the excursion to Virgin Gorda and the Baths. It was well worth the money! The walk down the path to the beach (and back up) could be an excursion all by itself! The beach is beautiful and the boulders and rock formations are spectacular. We explored “the caves” and also found a nice shady spot on the beach to lay out and relax. My son did the dolphin swim excursion and loved it. A word of advice – the dolphin swim sells out fast. If you want to do this excursion, book it as soon as you get on board. Summary - The ship is beautiful, the itinerary was great and we had a truly wonderful time. The only downside is the subtle differences we felt with Carnival compared to other lines we have sailed. Would I sail on the Carnival Legend (or any Carnival ship) again? It wouldn’t be my first choice, but if the itinerary and price were right – yes I would!

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Jul 31, 2003

St. Thomas, San Juan, Tortola

Before you cruise on Carnival Lines, read this first… I am an avid cruiser and have been on about twenty cruises before. Here’s my experience on the Carnival Legend… Our trip left from NY going to San Juan, St. Thomas, and Tortola. BON VOYAGE! We met in NYC. Here we find hundreds of other passengers hurrying around trying to be sure that all their papers are in order. Once that task was accomplished we were ushered into lines

very much like those at Great Adventure. We spent at least two hours on line. It was finally our turn on line when we find out that our dinner seating was incorrect. Those at the desk were unable to remedy the situation at that time but assured us that the maitre‘d would “take care of us.” Once on the ship we were again shuffled around. We tried to find the maitre‘d and was told he was “not available.” In the meantime we found our cabin. We figured we would lock up our valuables. Our room safe would not open. We read the directions many times and made numerous attempts to open it. We asked the cabin attendant; he gave us quick instructions from the hallway and then replied “I’m very busy now.” We then went to the Purser’s Desk and waited in another long line. We were “greeted” again with another mad face. We asked for a safe deposit box. She said, “Just use the one in your room.” Finally after we explained she reluctantly gave us a box. So far our first three encounters with Carnival crew were negative. Hasn’t anyone at Carnival heard of FIRST IMPRESSIONS??? Apparently not. BON APPETITE The assistant maitre’d, Freddy was available at 3:30. We went to see him and found another LONG LINE of very agitated and upset customers. I watched as every customer walked away unhappy. I don’t know why I thought I’d be treated any different. I explained that there must have been a mistake; we were given the wrong seating for dinner. I explained that we requested and were promised the late seating. He said “who promised you that?” He repeatedly said “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.” I said if you are “sooo sorry, fix the problem.” He said, “What do you want, you just booked this cruise, the customers who booked earlier take priority.” He then went on to patronize us further and offer us a bottle of wine. AMAZING! Never, ever, ever, have I seen such TERRIBLE SERVICE! This all transpired one hour into the cruise. I then convinced myself that this was not a sign of things to come. We all have “off”days, maybe it was just a bad day. As time went on we quickly realized that every staff member had a “bad day” EVERY day of the cruise! Staff members greeted you with an unhappy face, never eye contact or a smile. We figured at least we have dinner to look forward to. It had been a TRYING experience so far. I’d have been better off staying at home! After complaining to the maitre’d about the treatment by his assistant we insisted on the late seating. We waited a long time to be served dinner and the restaurant was reminiscent of a large cafeteria with help scurrying around. Dinner was by no means worth the wait. The food was cold, the presentation was mediocre at best, taste and quality was poor. The chateaubriand tasted just like pot roast, lumpy potatoes, and frozen broccoli – And of course ICE COLD! YUCK! We were never asked if we liked the food, cared for more or different, etc. It was plopped in front of us, and if you didn’t like it, too bad. Every night – the same thing. We ate because we were hungry, not because we liked the food or service. Lunch was a similar experience. A crowded room, we could not sit alone. More TERRIBLE SERVICE! The food was a little better at lunch, but not much. Not surprisingly, the maitre’d did not circulate to the tables. Never did he ask how we were doing. My boyfriend explained that this is the first cruise he’d been on where he did NOT WANT TO EAT! On the bright side dessert was usually very good. We really enjoyed the crème brule and soufflé dishes. The cappuccino and espresso was also a nice touch. My advice: skip dinner and go right to dessert. You Get What You Pay For We learned another important lesson while cruising on Carnival. ANYTHING REALLY GOOD COST EXTRA MONEY. We were recommended to try the Supper Club. It was touted for its elegant, top-notch cuisine and service. This is what I had expected for the entire cruise. Of course this was for an additional charge. The food at the supper club was delicious, beautifully presented, and even HOT! It was truly the only good meal we had in eight days. We had no worries about gaining weight on this cruise! While having dinner at the supper club we noticed the maitre’d dining there too. I don’t blame him for not eating in the regular restaurant, Truffles. Obviously he expects a higher quality of food for himself than that of his guests. Home Sweet Home (Our Cabin) Our cabin was decent sized and clean. Cabin service was also poor. Our server kept the cabin tidy, but did not appreciate requests made by us. It took FOUR HOURS to get laundry bags. He also mistakenly threw away or sent in to wash “Romance Champagne glasses” we bought. He put regular champagne glasses in their place. When we approached him about this he apologized and replaced them four days later. I called once to ask for an ashtray and he replied “didn’t you call me once already?” I didn’t realize that we were limited to one request per day. No special towel animals, etc appeared. Room service was crummy. The menu was limited to boxes of cereal and sandwiches. It took one hour to deliver 6 slices of cheese with crackers. Again, no smiles. I felt like a total IMPOSITION, not a guest. Land Ho! The reason for our trip was due to the itinerary. The ports of call were San Juan, St. Thomas, and Tortola. San Juan was nice, did some shopping and sightseeing via horse and carriage. We passed on all Carnival excursions. In St. Thomas we visited Magen’s Bay, considered the nicest beach. We met up with friends who were vacationing in St. Thomas and enjoyed the very scenic beach. More time in St. Thomas would have allowed for sightseeing. We only had until 2:00 PM in Tortola. We went to the beach again, not much to do there. Lights, Camera, Action… SHOW TIME I must admit, the dancers were good and the singers were especially talented. The reggae band at the pool was really very good. The dancers should stick to dancing; not running other activities in which they seem annoyed to do. Bingo was TERRIBLE, only one game at a time. Hardly worth the walk there or getting up from the pool. Prize amounts were very stingy, almost comical. Three people split a winning of $100.00, hardly a win! Bingo cost $20.00 to play one game, very anti-climactic. A real disappointment for many. I won $8000.00 on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Although a smaller ship, they gave back much more to their guests. (Everything was top notch and the service was outstanding on Royal Caribbean, I am pleased to advertise their cruises.) The health club was very nice but too small to accommodate this large ship. Only one machine was out of order, but all others seemed new and in good condition. We had to wait on lines to use machines. The “parties” left a lot to be desired. The Captain’s Party was crowds of people sitting and waiting for a drink that never came. (MORE POOR SERVICE.) The recreation staff overall did not make a good effort, or any effort to interact with the guests. On one port of call, several staff was on the tender with us and did not acknowledge any passengers in any way. I guess when they are “off” (duty) they are really OFF. In my opinion, when they are “ON” they are still “OFF!!!” A guest talent show as nightly entertainment is not acceptable. I would never pay money to see that! No offense to the guests, but REAL entertainers should be paid, not using the guests whom you so badly treat. The pools were really nice, but entirely too small to accommodate 2,500 guests. The chairs were spaced about ½ one-half inch apart so that you had to practically straddle the stranger sitting next to you to get up. The hot tubs were filled with children who snorkeled with goggles between your legs while you are trying to relax. (I’m not kidding either!) Also, there is no staff to enforce the rules and regulations. Home Sweet Home Our “vacation” ended back in New York. To our surprise three other ships docked at the same time. It was even worse than our arrival. TOTAL MAYHEM! It was as if the flood gates opened and annoyed, screaming people were let out. A big herd of cattle. In keeping with the true Carnival tradition the staff was totally unhelpful with our departure. Chaos ensued and it took almost three hours to get out of New York. Last Impressions Overall the level of service was not commensurate with the physical structure of the ship. The ship itself is a little over a year old and is one of the nicest I’ve seen. It is very palatial in its appearance but very meager in its service. If another crew worked on this ship (those at Royal Caribbean’s Nordic Empress) it would be a perfect experience. Out of the 900 employees I only found ONE to give exceptional service. Her name is Tracy and she is an assistant maitre’d. (There are two on this ship.) She is the epitome of customer service. She made constant effort to assist guests, greet them, and be sure that they were happy. She takes a genuine interest in the guests, is hard-working, kind, well spoken, and friendly. Unfortunately the other staff members did not follow her lead. She should be put in charge of employee training and be held up as a role model. If the Carnival Legend had 900 Tracys, it would be an impeccable ship. Customer service overall was not lacking, it was totally ABSENT. After all, isn’t this considered the HOSPITALITY industry? I tell two friends, and they tell two friends… It seems very obvious to me that Carnival is not concerned with repeat business. They said this cruise will be memorable, and it was but not for the right reasons. This is my FIRST AND LAST experience with Carnival Cruise Lines. I know that most guests I spoke with echoed my thoughts. One comment was particularly striking a guest said, “I AM TRYING TO MAKE THE BEST OF IT.” You make the best of a tragedy, not a vacation! We work to live, not live to work. We work all year to have a great vacation and unfortunately this one fell well below our expectations. Carnival is not “the only game in town.” Carnival is not a monopoly in the travel business. Competition is one great aspect of our capitalistic society. I think Carnival should consider changing their outlook or they may feel pains in their pocketbook. Carnival’s competitors are CRUISING RIGHT PAST THEM.

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Jul 31, 2003

Western Caribbean

Probably the best cruise i have ever been on. I am a very open person and participate in every activity possible. If you have gone on this august 1st Cruise with the Legend, than you have probably seen me in the Survivor Competition, karaoke, game show, etc. too bad they got rid of matt...great host for all party events. However, people may down talk this ship.

DON'T LISTEN!!!! I met friends that i stayed in contact with and go out places together on a day to day basis. I'm taking my my girlfriend of 4 years with me on the same ship and same Itinerary in may of 2005...hope to see you all there...just look for the kid in the yellow bathing suit that participates in every activity!!!!  

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Jul 31, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

We had great weather once we left NY. With the exception of a few rocky hours here and there, this was the smoothest trip we've ever taken. Almost everything was better than expected. The food was fine. Service in dining room was slow the first night, we spoke to the hostess and service was great after that. Cabins were bigger than on other older ships I'd been on before. Everything was clean, the bathroom was roomy and well organized.

The balcony was the best decision we ever made! It was great to sit out there, I fell asleep a few times. My big complaint, and I'm surprised not to read about in other reviews, was the towels. You have to sign out towels at the pool against your account. If you leave them by the pool and lose track of one, they charge you $22 dollars. I had to "find" one to clear my bill. Other than that, everything was great. I wish we had more time on the beach at Tortola, or got to San Juan earlier in the day. But all in all, great trip!

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Jun 29, 2003

NY, San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola

I have just returned from an 8-night sailing aboard the Carnival Legend. This was my 3rd cruise, having sailed previously on the Celebrity Horizon and the Royal Caribbean Nordic Empress. I sailed out of New York and our ports-of-call were San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Road Town, Tortola. I traveled with 2 friends, all of us in our late

twenties and teachers. We arrived at the port in New York at approximately 12:30 p.m. We waited in line and went through the typical procedures (security checks, boarding photo, and check-in) and were onboard the Legend at approximately 1:45 p.m. This was the longest I have ever waited, however it was also the largest ship I have ever sailed on and have to say that the process of embarkation was very organized and moved relatively quickly. The ship itself is enormous and breathtaking. I was extremely impressed. We had requested a “late” dinner seating and had been assigned “early”, so the first thing we did was visit the maitre’d and he fixed this with no problem. Our cabin. Once again, we were very impressed. 3 women sharing a cabin could be tight, but that was not the case on the Legend. We had a category 8I cabin with an extended balcony. There was plenty of storage space. The wall unit had room for everything. There was additional space in our two nightstands and underneath the sofa/bed were two large drawers, which we didn’t even need. We fit three large suitcases under two of the beds. Our balcony had two chairs and a small table. We asked our cabin steward for an additional chair for the balcony and by the next day it was there. My recommendation: Splurge and get a cabin with a balcony – you will not regret it. The bathroom was at least 50% bigger than we had anticipated with a spacious shower (you could even control the exact temp of the water), removable showerhead and typical clothesline to hang wet bathing suits. There was a bowl of toiletries including toothpaste, sleepy time pills, crème saver candies and additional samples of shampoo and conditioner. The shower also had a shower gel and shampoo dispenser. There were plenty of shelves for storage in the bathroom. The food. We found the food to be very good. There was a wide variety at all times. There was something for everyone from grilled burgers and pizza to escargot and sushi. Everything was fresh and there was always something available. The room service menu was limited but was quite sufficient. On port days when we found ourselves rushing back to the ship for sailing time we enjoyed room service sandwiches on our balcony while watching the ship sail away from the beautiful islands we visited. Entertainment. There was always something to do. You can be as lazy or as active as you want on a Carnival Cruise. The lounges and bars were buzzing at night with lots of great live music for all tastes. The casino and shops had long hours, as well as the gym and the spa. The ports-of-call. In San Juan we did a ship excursion to the rainforest. We traveled through the poorest areas on the island before reaching the rainforest. We did enjoy it, but in the future we would just stick to sightseeing on our own in Old San Juan. We did go to the famous Señor Frog’s for a couple of hours before sailing time. It was lively and fun. We enjoyed seeing so many natives in their own environment. They sure know how to dance and have a good time. Once in St. Thomas we opted for a ferry trip to St. John. There was a carnival street celebration in St. John, which was very lively and nice to see. We took an open-air taxi ride to Trunk Bay (a beautiful beach, except for lots of sticks in the sand). After a few hours we headed back to St. Thomas for some quick shopping before getting back on the ship. Tortola was a beautiful island with very large houses. We took a ship excursion to Virgin Gorda to see The Baths. This was a breathtakingly beautiful beach surrounded by granite boulders. Definitely a must-see. We had very little time on this day so we headed back to Tortola for about 30 minutes of shopping and then back on the ship. Summary: This was a great vacation and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The long days at sea were relaxing and the ports-of-call beautiful. The ship sailed silently and smoothly. There were about 2 spans of a couple of hours when the ship rocked a little due to higher winds, but this was my first cruise where for hours on end I had forgotten that I was on a moving vessel. Service was very good, not as good as Celebrity (Horizon), but close. You can count on the animal-shaped towels on your bed after dinner and chocolates on your pillow. Definitely better than Royal Caribbean (Nordic Empress). The only negatives that I need to mention are the lines for food and buffets. There were 2500 people on the ship. I also have to mention debarkation. We opted to carry our own luggage off the ship to get off faster. We did get off earlier, but we had to drag our luggage and stand in huge lines to get off the ship. I probably would not do that again. I would wait for the color-coded tags and sip a cup of coffee or a drink by the pool. P.S. - The flourless chocolate cake is heavenly, HAVE IT!!!

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May 12, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

Just returned in 5/21 from our very first cruise, which was fantastic. Carnival Legend is a beautiful ship, very nice people, and lots of fun. I didn't think the San Juan tour was worth it, but St Thomas was beautiful and we didn't get off in Tortola (too tired) We met lots if nice people, had a ball, only disappointment was Truffles, the dinner choices sometimes were not so good and lots of times we ate upstairs on Lido deck where the

food was always good, we even had Filet Mignon up there one night We would definitely sail the Legend again, hopefully next year!

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May 12, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

We just returned from the Carnival Legends inaugural 8 day cruise from NY to the Southern Caribbean and had to write a review. We have been on 3 cruises, 2 of them on Carnival and this is one cruise line that really has its act together. Embarkation was a breeze. We were on the ship 30 minutes after our limo dropped us off. Our first great experience was with the asst. maitre d. We wanted a table for 2, so we went to him and had

it changed in 5 min., all with a smile. Our cabin, 7188 on Verandah deck, was outstanding; clean, comfortable and with a great balcony. Our cabin steward, Serafin, was courteous, professional and diligent, and also had a great sense of humor. Our only comment about the food and service was WOW! In the 8 days on the ship we did not have even 1 remotely unpleasant experience connected to dining. The food, in both variety and amount was exceptional. Who cares how much food there is if it isn't good. The food on this ship, from the hot dogs to the broiled lobster was fresh, hot, delicious and served with pride and professionalism. Our only bit of advice is stay away from the 24 hour pizzeria, it is ADDICTIVE! (and delicious) As a quick aside, Capt. Scala did an incredible job of navigating, or "driving" as he puts it. He maneuvered the ship with such expertise you couldn't tell if you were docking, setting sail, or at sea. A job well done! There are however, some areas that should be addressed, mostly in regards to the clientele and not the employees. First, with a ship as elegant and well thought out as the Legend, people should use common sense and dress appropriately in all dining areas. Just because the Unicorn Cafe is on the same deck as the pools does not mean you enter a dining area with no shirt, no shoes and a dripping bathing suit, which we observed on more than one occasion. We feel the staff should have pointed out to these people that proper attire is required. As adults however we feel they should know better. Second, there are abundant smoking areas throughout the ship. We feel these should be used and people should not be smoking in food areas and near the pools. We felt security should have taken a more active role in enforcing non smoking policies. Other than these few negatives, Carnival has taken huge strides in the areas of comfortable, affordable cruise vacations. We will definitely cruise Carnival again, probably to Bermuda in August.

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Apr 28, 2003

Bermuda

I had a great time. I expected allot and got more than what I had expected. Everything about this ship and this cruise was WONDERFUL!! The service, food and entertainment was a plus. First lets talk about the service. Service was excellent. All of the crew that I encountered was more than willing to help or what ever I wanted was granted. Always with a smile. There was even a young lady that was sea sick and she even helped with

a smile. The food was great. Lots of different stuff and always hot and served with a smile. Our folks that were assigned to our table were Rosha and Paul. The were so smooth and helpful. The entertainment was A+. If you ever get bored on this ship, I blame YOU. My only regret was that I did not have a room with a balcony. Missing the fresh air and seeing light in my cabin is all I missed. Grant me, if you take this cruise you will not be disappointed. I would recommend this ship to anyone. Way to go carnival. Keep up the good work.

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Apr 10, 2003

Exotic Western Caribbean

Embarkation: As others have written, Carnival really needs to get their act together to smooth out this system at Ft. Lauderdale. Of 12 cruises and knowing we were in for a “wait”, this was the worst embarkation (organization) I have ever encountered. Due to the expectations, though we just moved with the flow and had no problems. Staff members were nice and did everything possible with the set-up. We arrived shortly after 11 a.m.

by taxi from the Doubletree Galleria, with the line already snaked outside. We finally entered the building about 12:15 a.m. and were on board shortly after 1 p.m. All of my pre-ordered “gifts” where in our cabin as well as Champagne and chocolate covered strawberries and petit fours from our TA. Missing were bathrobes, but a simple note to the cabin steward provided those as well as he emptied the mini-bar. Cabin: We had Cabin #7258 a Category 8G, on the Verandah deck. This is one of six Category. 8 cabins, which has a HUGE balcony. It is triple the length plus it is wider than other Category 8 balconies. There were two nice lounge chairs, an Adirondack style chair, a regular chair and a small table on the deck. We never saw our cabin steward during the week, but he answered any request that I noted on a Post-it left in the cabin. Only once, was our cabin not made up promptly but we had definitely over slept! When we returned late that afternoon, it was all set. We really took advantage and enjoyed this cabin and balcony. The location was also very convenient to the Lido deck, buffet and elevator bank. No noise was heard in this area either. Public Rooms and Entertainment: Like her sister the Pride, all of the lounges and theaters areas are great. We enjoyed listening and dancing at Satchmo’s to Music Society; the Firebird Lounge had Johnny’s Favorite Band, which my DH liked, but they were a little corny, the first night and didn’t know the requested tunes the next time we tried. Our group cocktail reception was held at Medusa’s Lair, which is wild. The teens seemed to enjoy their disco hour in this lounge. We caught most of the great shows except the Fiddler on the last night. There are some “cold” spots in the Follies, so bring a wrap or jacket. Only negative comment, since we had Late seating and went to the Late show, is that they hold Bingo in there at 10 p.m. and many seats are already saved so you have to climb over people! We certainly managed to find a good seat every night. Drinks were not pushed upon you either in a club or on deck. Dining Room & Food: Just about perfect. Our servers were attentive and aimed to please without being obtrusive. Our assistant waiter was a character with his tricks he displayed toward the end of the cruise. My only issue and this is a reversal from what most traditional cruisers would expect, was the Table Settings: silverware. Usually the question from new cruisers are what piece of silverware do I use for which course? Our waiter explained, that it was “new policy” to set the table with only minimal silverware: dinner fork, knife, butter knife and one teaspoon. The dilemma occurred when you have more than one course that requires new silverware. On more than one occasion, I was sitting with a course; salad, appetizer, soup etc. and did not have a utensil to eat with. I would have to wait until I got the attention of one of the servers, who would be flabbergasted, that I hadn’t started eating yet! What do they think they are saving? Also, breakfast was set properly in the main dining room. Go Figure. The Unicorn Buffet was great. With fresh cooked eggs & omelets plus all of the other usual breakfast fare and the great variety of luncheon offerings, you can’t go wrong. Many children were on board and families really enjoyed the casual dining here in the evening as well. They seemed to have a little difficulty keeping up with the bright plastic coffee cups and juice glasses in the morning, which was a little unusual. We drank coffee several days from glasses. They are the same plastic strength but it was a little awkward for hot coffee. Room Service: My only complaint. I placed the breakfast card on the door about midnight on two evenings before days at port. Due to early morning tours, I requested continental breakfast. Well the cards were gone each morning, however the orders never showed up. The second time the request was for 7 to 7:15 a.m. service, which basically is the earliest you can request the delivery. By 7:30 a.m. when the order didn’t show up, off to the buffet we went. When we returned, Room Service had called that they arrived at 7:35 a.m. This was a 1st. for us too on room service issues out of 12 cruises. Captain Claudio and his staff are very gracious. Everyone speaks to you with a pleasant hello. My favorite staff member was Ms. Katelina, the assistant maitre’ de who had just joined the Carnival Legend for her new contract. We required no dining room assistance, but she handled a delicate matter with a tablemate in a very professional manner. Before and after the confrontation, she always had a smile and asked how our day was going. Ports of Call: Belize - we had reserved a private Cave Tubing tour with Reggie along with about 20 other cruise critic friends. Our designated spokesperson, contacted the Activities Director for assistance to enable our group to receive early Tender tickets. He was informed to meet at 7:45 a.m. in the Follies lounge and to meet the director to request assistance. The assistant director was very helpful and directed the group to a tender after the majority of the Ship Tours had gone down to the tender dock. Unfortunately, not all of our group got the phone message to meet that early, so we still ended up waiting at the dock which gave us some free time to explore the tourist shopping village. Cave tubing was fun but a little more strenuous than expected due to low water level. We went through 2 caves. We did not have time for a lunch break but returned to the port by 3 p.m. Cost is $65pp. We shopped in the Pharmacy and Cigar store for some good buys. Limon, Costa Rica - We took a private taxi tour with a wonderful couple I had met on-line. At the pier, there is a booth with a Red tent canopy “Control de Viajes”. There is a sign with tours and respective prices, thus no haggling is necessary. We took the Tourtuguero Canal and Del Monte Banana Plantation walking tour that was rated Number #1 tour to take at Limon. This 3-4 hours excursion, which included the Canal boat tour, a stop at Playa Bonita beach area, a stop for a photo opportunity with a 3 toed sloth and monkeys, as well as a detailed explanation of various flora and plant life including the coffee beans. I will forever appreciate every Golden Banana that I eat. These plantation workers have a very hard job. The Del Monte plantation covers up to six miles of banana groves. Our driver guide even took us to a local supermarket, which I requested to stop, where he helped me purchase coffee, vanilla, and local mixed tropical fruit juice. Upon return to the pier there is a Tented souvenir bazaar for your souvenir shopping pleasure. I purchased a beautiful Mahogany 8 piece salad bowl set for $25US. Ironically, the Cruise Director, Brett Allens, stated there is no shopping in Limon. Of course this translates to, there is no “recommend high end shops that have contracts with Carnival” that they would recommend. Of course you can bargain with many of these vendors as the day goes on and it gets closer to the time that the ship sails, prices may go down. Colon, Panama – We have cruised through the canal, so opted to take the ship’s Ocean to Ocean Train tour to Panama City @ $130pp. Ship tours are especially recommend at this port due to the crime factor and remote area. We boarded our modern air-conditioned buses and left for the renovated train station by 9 a.m. Each bus had an English speaking Panamanian tour guide who was joined by 2 young hostesses on each train car. These trains are immaculate with dark polished wood and booth seating on each side. The panoramic window afforded a good view from no matter which side you are seated. Our guide spoke of the history of the area, the canal building and how the Panama Canal area it is being re-developed for future tourism opportunities. Once we arrived at Miraflores Lock, we boarded nice air-conditioned buses for a short drive to the Locks. Many former government sites were pointed out. It was noted how they are being utilized today for business and educational advances. At the locks, we had front row seats on the Observation Deck where a guide explained the complete and intricate working of the lock. Unfortunately at that time of morning, the majority of the ships had passed through. The 3 deck high Ferry tour boat was the only vessel in the lock with some of our ship’s passengers on board. It was a good example of how quickly the lock fills and moves the vessel from one level to the next. After reaching the Panama shore for a view of this capitol city, we returned to the train and were provided a light snack. Even on the return trip, more history and interesting information was provided to us. It was a great way to spend the day. Upon returning to the Colon 2000 port area, we went into their thoroughly modern Super 99 market. Like in America, even the supermarket has crowds with pharmacy, bank and numerous American type conveniences and products for sale. To our surprise, a uniformed military armed guard with rifle was stationed at the door! I bought my Panamanian Coffee. Off to buy a Panama hat and a few other souvenirs, but the selection was not as great or reasonable as I had hoped. I paid $27 for a beautiful hand made T-shirt, but mom loves it! That is all that counts. Cruise Critics parties: This is the 4th cruise that I have been on since finding great cruise only on-line web sites. I have been active with organizing a “get together”. We called ours Meet & Greet. We designated that we would meet at the aft pool bar Unicorn (so people could buy a “Carnival Drink of the Day” or something to their liking.), watch sail away, and meet new friends. We set the time as the day of embarkation after the lifeboat drill or 4 p.m. which ever worked. Our list of folks ranged in ages from 2 to 72 from all parts of the USA. Many of the teens communicated on line before our cruise and met earlier in the day. I would say about 30 people stopped by to introduce themselves and met all of the other wonderful cruisers. By meeting early in the cruise week, we often got together for a tour, in lounges or just to say hello as we passed in the hall. It was a real nice group and experience. Bon voyage

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Mar 10, 2003

Western Caribbean

The Carnival Ships with their red and blue whale tail funnels are distinctive, yet, this line was conceived so that "everyman" would be able to afford cruising. Initially, from its humble beginnings of just one old ship, Carnival line now boasts of over 19 mostly new ships (Spirit, Triumph, Pride, Legend, Victory, Conquest, Glory, Holiday, Destiny, Ecstasy, Fantasy, Paradise, Elation, Celebration, Inspiration, Sensation, Imagination, Fascination,

and the Jubilee, all in service) with more being built and even more on the drawing boards. It has sixteen home ports on the North American Continent, add Honolulu, HI to make seventeen. This was our third cruise on Carnival, having sailed on the Legend's sister ship the Pride and on the Triumph. The Spirit Class ships were designed so close to perfection that Carnival has reproduced them in "Cookie Cutter" fashion, even across company lines (Costa Atlantica is also one of this class). So, with its simplicity of purpose, Carnival has grown to become a major cruise line to reckon with! Carnival Corporation now includes the following prestigious lines: Cunard (England), Holland America (Holland), Costa Cruises (Italy), Windstar Cruises (Tall Sail Ships), and the Yachts of Seabourn. Carnival 's passengers are mainly American and include all ages from toddlers to seniors, but the majority are in their mid forties. We met the serious and brilliant Captain Claudio Cupisti (Italy) on the Pride in January 2001, when he spoke of the Legend, being built in the Kvaerner Masa Shipyards in Helsinki, Finland and noted he would soon leave the Pride and move on to Finland to take command of the Legend, which was launched on August 14, 2002. We were happy to hear that soon he will return to Finland to take command of the newest Carnival ship, the Miracle. Yet, with all this recognition, he said his most impressive days on the bridge were spent with two young passengers from the "Make a Wish Foundation" whose dream was to see whales -- a dream he was happy to help make come true. In Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, the Legend resembled her sister ships on the outside; however, we were eager to see how Designer Joe Farcus had made her different on the inside. EMBARKATION Even though security was heightened, we experienced no delays. We picked up our tickets on the pier, where our luggage was also tagged and checked. It took a total of fifteen minutes. We had wheel chair assistance all the way to the gangway: very professional and very helpful. We arrived at 12:30 pm and were on board in our stateroom by 1:00 pm. We checked on our dining room assignments, with which we were pleased. It was table #127 near the entrance, so we were off to the Welcome Aboard Buffet and we enjoyed the excellent pizza, our compliments to Executive Chef Craig Salamone (more about this accomplished young man later). THE SHIP Sister ships are wonderful, repeat passengers already feel at home knowing the ship's layout. We were curious to see what Mr. Farcus did with the decor. Taking a cue from her name, his concept revolved around legendary heroes of all kinds: mythological, medieval, crusaders, sports, film and music legends are all represented. Farcus' signature is repetition and it was in evidence here once again. AMPHORAE ( pewter colored urns) are everywhere, decorating balustrades, on balconies in the 10 Deck high Lobby, as door knobs, and as lamp and chandelier bases. They are of all sizes, some even large enough to hold people! Wide dark cherry wood moldings frame window, doors, ceilings and sometimes double rows of these maroon borders greet passengers with the Etruscan Key Symbol embossed in gold row upon row. This ship does not show the traditional nautical colors. She is more somber (maroon, gold and browns), but just as richly decorated as other Carnival ships. We feel that the lack of neon is good! Riviera Deck 1 forward has the dazzling Firebird Lounge. This lounge is named after the clever seamstress Maryushka, who was turned into a Firebird by the evil sorcerer Kaschei, after she had spurned him. She still sheds her bright feathers to this day, which are magically seen only by lovers of beauty. This room has firebirds everywhere: on sofas, chairs, carpeting, walls, ceilings, etc.... On the walls are huge red lacquered discs framing pictures of figures strolling through idyllic gardens. It is quite bright: a feast of colors with a prevalence of red and gold! Midship, all the way to the aft elevators, there are inside and oceanview staterooms. Toward aft there is the first level of the Medusa's Lair, a night club, and aft is the Galley. Promenade Deck 2 forward holds the Follies Theater which recalls the palatial movie "palaces" of the Roaring Twenties. Its sparkling draped curtain and the repetition of the "Blazing Sun Face" image are very effective giving opulence to this huge room. Go early to shows because there are some poor seats, since six pillars block the view of the stage, as do wide wooden balustrades and the balcony design. Just outside the theater toward midship is Satchmo's Club (Named after Louis Armstrong, America's jazz trumpet legend). The knotty pine benches, wrought iron bar stools and tables are reminiscent of New Orleans, birth place of Jazz. Next door is the Dream Team Bar giving homage to many sports heroes (legends) from Juan Fangio to Jackie Robinson, Babe Zaharias, Wilma Rudolph and to Bart Starr. Then, there is the Casino Club Merlin named for King Arthur's wizard and decorated with Crusading Knights and Monastic Arches. Perhaps the lesser decorated of all public rooms, it still has many slots and gaming tables. Midship is the Legend Lobby with the Purser's and Shore Excursion Desks. We nicknamed it "The 1001 Urns Lobby." Here are the black pleated silk lamp shades and some of the legendary urn chandeliers with spokes terminating in purple speckled crystal flowers. These lamps and chandeliers are found on several decks in great numbers -- repetition, repetition. Adjacent to the Legend Lobby there is a beautiful bronze sculpture representing bears catching salmon swimming upstream. This is our favorite art work on the ship. It is a gift of the Kvaerner Masa Shipyard workers. Opposite the three birdcage elevators is a four deck tall stylized painted mural of the "Colossus" of Rhodes. A corridor leads back to the Atlantis Lounge (named for the mythical lost continent) and the entrance to the second level of Medusa's Lair, a night club displaying a dozen or more huge Medusa heads with glowing eyes and writhing snakes for hair. The bar stools are on snake bases, iridescent wrought iron chairs, marble bars and tables complete this club. Truffles Restaurant is aft with its subdued ambiance for Carnival, until overhead lights dim and flashing red lights come on and even the chandeliers blink, while waiters lead passengers in a Conga Line to shouts of "Ole` Ole`" and "Hot, Hot, Hot." The decorations are mainly black and beige marble squares arranged in a checkerboard pattern and many arched china cabinets with opalescent glass fronts holding matched sets of china. For ceiling fixtures aqua and blue blown glass vials are arranged in ovals. Finally, the copper pillars make this room unique. However, if you are looking for the Promenade on this deck -- forget it -- the outside promenade is located upstairs on Deck 3. Atlantic Deck 3 forward has the Follies balcony and next to its entrances are the entrances to the Enchanted Forest (recalling many fairy tales of old). Huge tree trunks line its curved walk where large portholes overlook the sea. There are many glass tables with cross sections of tree trunks visibly displaying their annual growth rings. Fittingly, this leads to the staircase in the prow which goes up to the Gigabytes Arcade (Deck 4) and the Noah's Ark Playroom (Deck 5). This area is one of the best kept secrets of the Spirit Class ships; it's great for strolling on rainy sea days, reading or just sitting quietly and conversing. Going toward midship is the Chapel (nice stain glass windows) and the Holmes Library with its bright red leather seats and too many faux books. This is also the internet area with many computer terminals (costs are $3.95 for a one time set up charge and $0.75 per minute to surf the net). Hollywood Blvd. leads to midship and an interesting Life Magazine photo from 1943 of MGM's Louis B. Mayer and his "stable" of stars. This provides a great guessing game for cruisers: they sit across from it, reminisce and try to identify the famous actors. Next is Billie's Piano Bar, named for Billie Holiday, the jazz singer with perfect phrasing, who recorded over 200 songs in a ten year period. Rodeo Drive leads to the on board shops (nice selections), the Photo Gallery and going aft is the Odyssey Lounge. Just off this lounge is the entrance to the Round Table Room where two large murals depict the flower of knighthood, Renaissance lute players and laurel crowned youths. All the way aft is the balcony of Truffles Dining Room. Main Deck 4 forward is the Follies Balcony and the rest of the deck is staterooms. Upper Deck 5, Empress Deck 6, Veranda Deck 7 and Panorama Deck 8 are all staterooms. Lido Deck 9, Sun Deck 10 and Sports Deck 11 are all public areas. Deck 9 forward is the well equipped gymnasium and Health Spa with separate Steam & Sauna rooms for ladies and men. The corridor has the familiar Greco-Roman Black and Copper murals depicting athletes. There is also an excellent Jacuzzi, which, like this whole area is quite private from 7 to 9 am; go early and it's all yours. Midship are two outdoor pools and spas, the Camelot and the Avalon, with medieval warriors standing guard over them. Captain Cupisti calls these the best sculptures on board. The Camelot pool has a sliding Sky Dome, very convenient on rainy days. Toward aft is the Unicorn Cafe (named after the legendary equine with the single horn: the symbol of power and purity). The food court is nicely divided to curtail lines; there are separate pizza (excellent), salad, entree and dessert stations, which make this area easy to navigate. There is a huge suspended blown glass sculpture/chandelier in a chapel like setting. There are portraits of medieval knights and ladies everywhere. All the way aft is the third pool with spa, the Unicorn. Sun Deck 10 holds the second floor of the spa and gymnasium, mid ship is the Golden Fleece (named for the mythical ship of Jason and the Argonauts); this upscale restaurant has a cover charge of $25, but the menu is worth it: Stone crabs, lobster, 10 oz. veal chop, all with great ambiance). Aft is the open deck area with a giant water slide. Sports Deck 11 holds the jogging track, the Golden Fleece's Balcony, the Kid's Pool and the giant Water Slide Entrance (great fun for both adults and children). Sky Deck 12, at the very top of the ship is an area devoted only to sun bathing. The Legend is a well equipped and beautifully designed ship with careful thought given to every detail and always with the passenger in mind. CABIN Stateroom #7260 is the same room we occupied on the Pride, so we know it well. It is wheel chair accessible and has a triple long balcony. It has a huge bathroom with shower, all done in sea blue tiles. There is a king size bed, double wardrobe, desk/vanity, refrigerator, personal safe, bar, table and two upholstered chairs. The decor is bright orange, red and beige and two numbered prints of the legendary Diana the huntress. Our stewardess, Linda was the best! FOOD & SERVICE The service under Hotel Manager Carlos Alfonso, we are happy to report, is top notch. Carlos is friendly, experienced, and knowledgeable about the service industry. His feels the passenger must be accommodated, and he has trained his crew to be happy to do so. He believes the Carnival employees programs are what makes for low personnel turnover and therefore good service. Lots of smiles and a willingness to serve are what make the "Fun Ship's" motto "We offer vacations for the everyman." come true. Carlos keeps an eye on passenger "Comment Cards" and attempts to incorporate as many suggestions as possible, such as the new miniaturized Carnival Caper daily paper, small enough to fold neatly into a pocket, thus easily accessible to the cruisers whenever needed. The food is A-one under the direction of Executive Chef Craig Salamone. He is a detail man and the food shows it in the careful cooking and interesting plating. It not only looks appetizing, it is delicious. Up in the Unicorn the pizza was terrific with a light crust (Chef Craig said, "it is all in the proofing of the dough"). Whatever it is, this was great pizza! Try the one with goat cheese and mushroom; it's 4 stars**** . There is also an ice cream station, where Vincent could be found daily. An insider's tip is if it looks too soft-- press it again and it'll be solid, since the Caribbean heat can get to the first inch or so of the dispenser. Truffles Restaurant (named for the undisputed King of the fungi family), under the watchful eye of Chef Craig, has some very inspired offerings: Breakfast from room service was always on time and fresh, but limited to continental. In the Unicorn or Truffles, breakfast can be as varied as the stomach can handle: Express Breakfast is juice, scrambled eggs, bacon, toast and beverage (coffee, espresso, cappuccino, tea, hot chocolate or milk). The buffet has cereals, yogurts, fresh fruits, oatmeal, cream of wheat, eggs any way (from individualized omelets to eggs Benedict), pancakes, French toast, Lox "N" Bagels w/cream cheese, and a myriad of fresh breads including the following: Danish, croissants, muffins, rolls or toast (with various jams and jellies). Stagger away from this meal, and start contemplating lunch. Lunch at Truffles has five or six main course offerings: oven fresh focaccia, fish "n" chips, barbecued baby back ribs, Neptune's salad, trout Almondine, Philly cheese steak sandwich, chicken Parmigiana and save the waistline Nautica Selections of salads, broiled fish or meat all reduced calorie or sugar free. The most popular place to eat on board is the Unicorn -- Buffet style dining attracts cruisers! Dinner in the Truffles Dining Room was a pleasure. Appetizers included the following: Fried Calamari, Gaspacho, Escargot, Crema di Funghi Selvatici (wild mushroom soup), and cold soups or fresh fruit plates. Pastas could also be ordered as "starters"; thus, a smaller portion for sampling would arrive: try the pappardelle w/langostinos (flat noodles with tiny lobster), Bigoli alla Carnival, or the Farfalle w/turkey or even Lasagna Bolognese. This chef knows his pasta! Carlos Alfonso stated that Carnival has aimed for the top in culinary achievements and is now on a par with other lines. We agree -- especially with entrees like steamed king crab legs, Coq au Vin, Roast veal w/mushrooms, Grilled Rock Cornish hens w/blackberry salsa, Grilled Black Tiger Jumbo Shrimp, fillet Mignon, and last, but not least, Prime Rib of Beef. Now, if dinner didn't do you in, the desserts may. Several evenings soufflés were available, or how about a Passion Fruit and Lime Parfait? There's also Tiramisu, Bread Pudding (this was definitely a culinary achievement: hot, light, and fluffy w/vanilla sauce) or just go for it with Pecan Pie! Carnival has come a long way and should be proud. Our compliments to Chef Salamone and his hard working staff. SERVICE on board under Carlos is excellent. The dining room staff is led by Maitre d' Paul Mecia, handsome and friendly, and the two beautiful and gracious hostesses: Viera and Catalina. They were sweet and helpful. Our waiter I. Nyoman and his assistant Gusti were both from Bali, Indonesia and they made us want to break out into a song from SOUTH PACIFIC, "Bali High." We now have a burning desire to visit Bali after meeting these two Good Will Ambassadors. Of course we cannot forget Angela of the Purser's office, who was helpful in many ways, and our old friend Michael Laundry, who was Beverage manager on this sailing, but is working towards hotel manager. We want to mention the very efficient Albino Aliota and Chief Plumber Manuel, who made rapid repairs in our bathroom. Thanks. ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES Cruise Director Brett Alans has fun and games down to a science. There were Trivia (Vincent won a medal), Bingo, Exercises, Crafts (The Round Table Room was always packed with both men and women making interesting gadgets and apparel). The shows were the typical fare, but by far the best of the week was "Jazz Hot" where singers Nadine Holloway, Karina Wright, and David Harvey were wonderful; however, Eric Hawthorne's voice was warm and mellow and showed a huge range from baritone to tenor -- Bravo. There was plenty of passenger participation and Brett's magic show was appreciated. There is something for everyone and all ages including Camp Carnival for the children. PORTS OF CALL Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale: Monday, Depart 4:00 pm Day at sea: Tuesday Belize City, Belize: Wednesday, Arrive 7:00 am; Depart 4:00 pm. Tendering to port starts 7:45 am. Some of the excursions available: Altun Ha & Belize City Tour (4.5 hours, $43), is a visit to an important ancient Mayan civilization site and a tour of the city; Baboon Sanctuary & Belize City Tour (4.5 hours, $45) is a trip to a Baboon Sanctuary and a tour of the city; Shark/Ray Alley Snorkel (7 hours, $69), a very popular snorkeling site along the barrier reef where stingrays and Nurse sharks can be seen; Cave Tubing & Rain Forest Exploration (6.5 hours, $85), suitable for able body participants. Shopping for local crafts, clothing, jewelry and liquors is available at the Belize Tourism Village. Day at sea: Thursday Puerto Limon, Costa Rica: Friday, Arrive Noon; Depart 7:00 pm Some of the tours available: Aerial Tram Tour (6 hours, $109), an eco-tourism sightseeing tour through the canopy of the rain forest; Coastal Highlights Drive (3.5 hours, $ 48), a guided motor coach tour through the countryside with visit to Bananito, a banana plantation village built by the Dole Fruit Company. Colon, Panama: Saturday, Arrive 7:00 am; Depart 4:00 pm Designated as a Duty Free Zone in 1953, shopping is great here. Some of the tours available: Portobelo & Gatun Locks (5.5 hours, $69), trip by bus to the historic town, fortress and visit to the Gatun locks of the Canal; Panama Canal Tour (7 hours, $165), a transit of the Canal from the Pacific Coast to the Caribbean Sea on a boat; Two Oceans by Railroad (5 hours, $125), a train ride from the Atlantic to the Pacific along the Canal and Gatun Lake. Days at sea: Sunday and Monday DEBARKATION Actually Captain Cupisti debarked in Panama to attend a conference. Staff Captain Vincenzo Alcaras took over; it was such a smooth transition, that many passengers never noted it. Debarkation was orderly and painless -- we were through customs and passport check and outside by 8:45 am. Nice work. SUGGESTIONS: 1. Please reserve the last row of seats in the Follies Theater for wheel chair passengers. 2. Filter out excess chlorine in the water to improve taste of juices, coffee and tea, etc. 3. Establish a repeaters program with mailings and recognition. Our third cruise on Carnival has been a very good one. We were very pleased both with the ship and the itinerary. The food was excellent, greatly improved from the previous cruises. We'll look forward to cruising with Carnival line again, probably on the new ships which will be launched in the near future; maybe we'll see Capt. Cupisti on the Miracle. Happy Cruising!

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Mar 10, 2003

Southern Caribbean

My family (including 2 young children) took the 8 day Western Carribean trip and we just returned. The children's program was just terrific! They always had new activities to do and really seemed to enjoy the program. The Camp Carnival was never overcrowded and in the best looking room on the ship! There was plenty of time allowed for parents alone (including the two formal nights when the counselors fed the children dinner) and the family

oriented activities were just plain fun too! The food was fairly good, and the Golden Fleece Supper Club was worth the $25 per person upcharge. Glorious environment with the kind of service you'd expect. The food was far superior to the main dining rooms. The ports of call were a disappointment to us though. Since we had small children they were not old enough to go on the excursions, so we had planned on going to the beach. Most beaches were 1.5 - 2 hours away and that leads to long bus rides which little guys don't handle very well. There were no beaches close by the ports. The Panama Canal area was the best stop for us. We took a tour that was not ship sponsored to the closest lock and it was definitely interesting. The cabins were surprisingly spacious! Our room had an "obstructed" view with a life boat. That was fine since we could see the water and the weather! There were two twin beds that they converted into a king for my husband and I. There was a couch that converted into a bed and a second twin size that dropped out of the ceiling! The boys were in heaven in the bunk bed situation! Still had lots of room to change for dinner and move around in the room when everyone was there. We took wine with us which was saved and served to us at our dinners. This was definitely worth the $10 fee they charge per bottle. The spa was wonderful and I had two treatments, one that I highly recommend...the Cleopatra. Be sure to check out the 5 head showers in the locker rooms....they are almost as good as a massage! The exercise facility was a bit disappointing though since it had drapes that obscured the view of the water while you were running on the treadmills and was just too hot. Nice facility though. Overall, it was a very relaxing vacation with enough time with the kids and alone with spouse. It is going to be hard to return to reality!

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Feb 22, 2003

Western Caribbean

The Carnival Legend is a beautiful ship better than all the other Carnival Ships. The food, shows, and the staff were great. One thing though, the ship tends to rock a lot. DON'T GET TOURS FROM THE CRUISE LINE IT'S A BIG RIP-OFF. There weren't a lot of kids on this ship, I say only about 100 out of 3000 passengers. We went to Belize, Costa Rica, and Panama, the best island is Costa Rica. There show are great and everything about

this ship is great. The food is a lot better the other ships. Don't hassle GO ON THE CARNIVAL LEGEND!!!!!!!!!!

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Feb 22, 2003

Panama Canal

I went on the best cruise ship. It was nice and quite. Don't book a tour off the ship the want to make money. You should book a tour outside the ship. The cruise goes to Belize, Cost Rica, Panama.

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Feb 14, 2003

Southern Caribbean

Feb 14th was our sailing date. We sailed on the Carnival Legend. What a great ship. Getting on and off the ship went very smooth. Considering they are boarding 2,124 guests. Every cabin was occupied. My husband is in a wheelchair so we had a wheelchair accessible cabin. It was great. This was our 6th cruise and the accessibility keeps getting better and better. Our cabin was a category 8I cabin number 8234. There was room for him to

move around in his wheelchair and we had a balcony that was 30 ft long. It was wonderful. I found the decorating to be very unique. I know you’ve heard about the urns and its true. They are everywhere. The artwork was beautiful. Our ports of call where St. Maarten, Barbados and Martinique. We shopped a lot on St Maarten. Very good shopping. We then went to Orient beach. Be ready to see nude people. Something I couldn’t get used to. Most of the people that are nude shouldn’t be. Barbados was very beautiful. The Jolly Roger was our excursion that we took. Had a great time on that. Others from our group did the snorkeling tour but the sea was a bit rough so they couldn’t snorkel. They still had a good time. Martinique was a bit different. Although tourism is one of their main sources of income the people don’t cater to Americans like the other islands where they bend over backwards to help you. That’s OK though. There was no pressure to buy like there can be at other places. The food was great. There wasn’t a single thing that I didn’t like. The Unicorn Café had 8 different stations all with different food. Maybe Mexican at one, French at another. It was great to try all the different foods. Then of course they had the 24-hour pizza bar which we visited a time or three. The dinning room was very nice. It’s has two floors. The galley in below both of them. The waitstaff uses escalators to go up and down. We never had to wait too long for our dinner to arrive and when it did it was always hot. Our wait team was very good and very friendly. We had a lot of fun with them. There was a different twist to the mealtime entertainment during dinner. The waitstaff did a little boogie woogie that was different from the times we cruised before. Very enjoyable. Security was a lot more present on this cruise. I’m sure it all had to do with 911 and I was glad to see them out and about. My only complaint was the kids onboard. Not the little kids but the kids in about the 12-17 age range. We didn’t see too many the first 2 nights but as kids started meeting each other they started to hang out in packs. Well, when that happened they got more bold and cocky to put it politely. That’s all I’m going to say about that. One evening at the comedian’s midnight show there were some 12 or 13-year-old kids there. It was an “R” rated show and the kids had no business being there. That’s the reason the show was at midnight. Had me feeling a bit uncomfortable. It was truly an adult show. All in all our cruise was very enjoyable. This was the first time we’ve had a cabin with a balcony and if we can help it that’s the only way we will cruise again. It was such a pleasure to be able to step out on that deck in the morning and see what it was like outside as well as sitting out there at night before turning in for the evening.

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Oct 22, 2002

Bermuda

We had a blast! Cruising with the Carnival Legend is a great way to spend a family vacation especially when going to....Bermuda! There is great food, entertainment, an arcade for the kids, a water-slide, and a great kids program (a lifesaver for formal nights, ect.)! The Legend was smooth and relaxing. There was friendly staff, multiple pools, spas, lounges, and dining choices (such as lobster). We left from Philadelphia and embarked

for our journey to Kings Wharf, Bermuda. Bermuda was great! Bermuda had wonderful pink sand, clear crystal waters, friendly locals, and beautiful coral reefs. I recommend booking a snorkeling trip and going to a beautiful beach, Horseshoe Bay. I have no complaints about Bermuda or the ship, and I had the experience of a lifetime! I look forward to taking another cruise in the future! My overall response about my Carnival experience is three thumbs up! I would recommend this ship to anyone! Well, I hope you enjoyed the review.

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Oct 22, 2002

Bermuda

I thought that future travelers would like a look at a cruise on the Legend from a "younger" traveler. My first reaction at the ship was "wow, this thing is big", and it was. It was 85,000 pounds of fun (literally) and was 957 feet long. The Legend is the newest ship in the Carnival fleet. The entire cruise was great, and was the best six days of my life! The Camp Carnival program was an awesome way to meet other people your age. There

was age groups like 3-7, 8-11, and 12-15, and the counselors were great (and so were the activities like capture the flag, board games, video games, scavenger hunts, dancing at Medusa's Disco, ect.). The service on the ship was wonderful. The food was great, there was a pizzeria open 24 hours a day, a midnight buffet on the second to last night, ice-cream machines located throughout the ship, great dining choices such as lobster, and many other ways to dine (such as free room service). There were several saltwater pools, hot tubs, and a water-slide (worth a try no matter what your age is!). There was a great arcade, playstation 2, computers, a library, a small church, and areas where for people wanting to use the Internet. There were some great shows, a casino, several spas, basketball, ping-pong, a gym, and glass elevators. The ship was a floating resort, like a portable five-star hotel. The Legend departed from Philadelphia and docked in Kings Wharf, Bermuda (the Royal Navy Dockyard). Bermuda was amazing! There were many beaches such as Elbow Beach, Horseshoe Bay, and many others. Here is a tip-when the beaches are crowded, head for small coves that have calm water and in some cases fish. There were many activities other than shopping, going to the beach, going to Hamilton, ect. If you take the bus as transportation, you may come across the worlds’ smallest drawbridge! There is scuba diving, snorkeling, helmet diving, visiting Crystal Caves, and many other activities. If you decide to take a cruise to Bermuda, as soon as you exit the ship head for Horseshoe Bay, the most popular beach (due to its beauty and small coves). If you wait for a couple hours or a day or two, you will be caught in large crowds there, and visiting Horseshoe Bay is a great experience. Overall, I would rate both the ship and Bermuda five stars.

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Sep 23, 2002

Baltic

On August 15th, Carnival Cruises took delivery of the second in their Spirit class ships, the 86,000 ton Carnival Legend -- a ship twice the size of the battleship USS Missouri. On August 24th, a 12 day Baltic shakedown cruise left Harwich, England for Copenhagen, Berlin, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, and Amsterdam. That the ship is a giant is an understatement with a capacity of 2,600 passengers and 800 crew. The ship is not

pleasant to be in, with all public spaces decorated in black, gold, silver, topped off with neon-festooned chartreuse ceilings and weird blue chandeliers made of hundreds of glass pigtails. The decor was, in the words of one Brit, “over the top.” My own opinion is that the decor might be termed Early Hong Kong Whorehouse. Throughout were gaudy pictures of Greek legends…Medusa, Leda and the swan, etc. all designed to complement the basic decor. Little thought was given to acoustics, making the ship a noisy place, especially the two level dining room. Worse, not much thought was given to the systems of operation, as the kitchen was placed one or two decks below the dining area, requiring the staff to carry trays up escalators, thereby assuring cold food. An attempt was made to provide 5-star dining, complete with charger plates, but both temperature and taste were sacrificed in the food's trip from kitchen to table. No drink stations were located near serving areas, so even for a cup of coffee, two decks had to be traveled. But worst of all, the crew, which had been drawn from the whole Carnival fleet, was disheartened, and did not hide their confusion and unhappiness from the passengers. Supervision was spotty and the idea of customer care was completely lacking. Bar service was almost non-existent. On one occasion in a sparsely filled lounge, three bartenders stood talking and glanced at us as we took a table but none walked over to take our order. Similarly, looking for coffee on the Lido deck, I saw a group of three staff chatting beside a coffee dispenser and told them that that particular urn was empty. They simply directed me to go to a different drink station. Routinely tables were left uncleared for long periods of time, there were periodic silverware shortages, empty ice cream machines, etc. No attempt was made to match shipboard activities to the demographics of the inaugural cruise passengers, most over 50 years of age. Carnival traditionally aims for the 25 to 35- year old "fun" crowd so they rolled out their stock fun-and-frolic activities such as kneeling with hands behind back and eating ice cream out of a soup bowl on the floor, hairy chest contests, and breaking beer cans on your head. Despite being in the Baltic surrounded by the heritage of Nordic seafarers, one of the photo ops was a picture with their Caribbean pirate. However, this was topped by a photo op of passengers standing beside a cardboard cut-out of the captain (a black-and-white photo, no less)! In the Carnival tradition, there were many opportunities to spend your money for things normally included in the cruise fare, such as cafes and pastries. There is an up-scale dining "experience" (ironically named “The Golden Fleece”) for an add-on charge of $25 per plate. In passing, we might mention we're not first- time cruisers ... 181 days on Holland-America, plus several cruises on other lines including Cunard. We didn't expect a 6-star experience -- but it seemed this was a particularly inauspicious beginning for a new ship.

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Sep 21, 2002

New England/Canada

Decor Despite some of the criticisms we've read, we loved the decor. It was bolder than other cruises we've gone on, and some of the choices didn't always "work", but we appreciate the effort that went into making this ship stand out in many ways. Cabin Our cabin was great - spacious and had a very nice private balcony. Our balcony (mini suite) on the Grand Princess had very little privacy. Our next cruise I would not stay on the

8th floor though because it was noisy from the traffic on the Lido deck (deck 9). I would probably choose port side too, but this is being picky. Service We found the service wonderful. Most of the workers offered smiles and friendly words when you made eye contact with them - not just the ones directly affected by tips. If you weren't out by noon, you didn't get your room done until dinner. This was no problem to me and it seems fair that the room stewards get some time off. Entertainment We didn't do a lot of shows, but we did like the comedy. The music and sound system was top notch in all the areas. The lounges were very comfortable and beautifully decorated. The piano bar had a great entertainer (Cameron Billy Brown). The disco was always empty. Because of the itinerary, there were a lot of geezers we had hoped we had left behind on Holland America. They had 3 top notch movies every day on your room TV, but would have liked more movies in their theatre/lounge. The casino wasn't very friendly to me. The payouts on video poker was worse than the machines in Nova Scotia. I did get some free drinks on one of the afternoons. Food It was awesome, much better than Princess. Try to get a beef dish on Princess that isn't dried out and tough. We really appreciated the free soft serve ice cream they had in many areas of the ship. At selected times, they had free sundaes. (Princess and RC charges for their ice cream.) The pizza available 24 hours a day was excellent. We appreciated the 4 choices of free juices/bunch they had every morning (orange, apple, lemonade?, ice tea?) and other times (punch, apple, lemonade, ice tea) Eating on the Lido deck was a little too chaotic. Having many different food stations all offering different selections meant a lot of smaller lines with people bumping in to you to see what was being offered. Having menu's posted at the entrances would have alleviated much of this congestion. Itinerary We didn't do any organized tours. Have you concluded yet that we're a little on the cheap side? Most of the time you can do better yourself soon after getting off the ship. NYC We arrived a day early. Jet Blue is a great airline. Felt like first class. Everyone gets free headphones with their own little TV. Took cab to our hotel - Howard Johnson's at Penn Station which was real joke. We called for wash clothes and were told they wouldn't be available until the next day. The hairdryer was currently being used by someone else. :) We both couldn't fit on the elevator with our luggage. We could barely fit in the lobby, or walk down the halls. We were dropped off in the middle of a very busy street on a side walked filled with pedestrians and street vendors. The cab driver told us to be very careful showing money when paying for items. Our trip didn't start out too well. We both were kind of expecting to be mugged. After a while we got caught up in the atmosphere. People were friendly. Most of the times making eye contact with some one resulted in a smile or kind greeting. Didn't sense any racial tension that I kind of expected. New York is a cool place, filled with excitement and with many different attractions. Had a blast going on the subway every where. Did the Empire State buildings 2 offerings. We reserved the tickets online before our trip. Our hotel was awful, but that's what you get when you stay in the heart of Manhattan in a $150 hotel. On our next trip, we'll try to find better and cheaper a little farther from the action. BOSTON Stayed on board. We were still tired from NYC. PORTLAND MAINE Bought a $4 all day bus ticket set up specifically for cruisers. Was nice (and cheap) way to see the city before deciding what to do. Did the Henry W Longfellow museum. Very nice. Bought lots of clothes in LL Bean. QUEBEC Simply awesome. Didn't find out until the second day there are is an Old Quebec, surrounded by a high wall and with canons everywhere, and a new Quebec. We just did Old Quebec, and there is no need for a bus. After 4 days of free soft serve ice cream, for some strange reason, we had to get an ice cream in a stand on the deck overlooking the port, that ended up costing $10 and they didn't take American money. The Citadel, a fort sitting high on the hill, was really cool. The few French speaking merchants we talked to were very helpful and friendly. That was totally unexpected. SYDNEY NOVA SCOTIA We had a wonderful walk in a town there where there isn't a lot to see. Quebec was a hard act to follow. HALIFAX NOVA SCOTIA Bought a $6 all day bus ticket that takes you to 2 drop off points a mile or 2 away. We ended up spending the day in the casino there. I dropped $60C in the video poker machines. I never learn. Security I felt that the "wanding" with metal detectors whenever reboarding the ship, and placing carry on items thru the X-RAY machine was mainly symbolic. There were times you could beep like crazy and still just pass thru. The room key/charge card you use through out the cruise has your picture embedded on it, and this was carefully checked when reboarding. I thought this was sufficient. Embarkation All cabs from JFK to hotels in the heart of Manhattan were fixed rate: $38 plus $3 toll. Cab from hotel(34th street) to port was $5. We got to the port at around 1 PM and was in our room by 1:30. Disembarkation This was a joke. We elected not to get the $55 per person travel voucher sold on the ship that is available for transportation to all 3 airports. This was more than the cost of our Jet Blue flight from Rochester to NYC. We were one of the early groups called to disembark. Maybe group 4 out of 12 or so. Our luggage was easy to spot, but my brand new suit case was ripped. We found a spot where people were waiting for a cab, but went back in because no one took our customs form. We had our luggage and went out to get a cab at 10:30 AM. So did hundreds of other people. We got a ticket with a number on it, and the numbers would be called as cabs came into the port. We were number 110. At 11 AM, theywere up to 17. At 11:30, they were up to 22. We talked to someone who had number 178, but we're sure that the numbers ran much higher. It was hard for the cabs to even enter the area, there were so many people constantly getting in the way. It was hot, muggy and unpleasant. Our 3 PM flight didn't seem a sure thing anymore. At 11:30, we left the area dragging our luggage through a crowd of 2000 sweaty, smelly people who had just come to grips with the fact that they gained 15 pounds that week and spent way too much money at the casino. We crossed a very congested street at a traffic light and within 10 seconds were able to get a cab. Incoming cabs are fixed rate, outgoing cabs are metered. We were interested to see how much the cab ride would be. The driver seemed to be "taking us for a ride" when we seemed to be driving out of the way, but he explained that the way we came was very congested because of all the construction and traffic was moving at a slow crawl. This was believable because he seemed to be in a hurry and changed lanes a few hundred times at break neck speed. :) The traffic in the other direction of the way we went was also at a crawl, which made his explanation believable. The cab ended up being $45 plus toll and tip, which ended up being the cost for the travel voucher for one person. OTHER This was our fourth cruise in the last 3 years. We did Holland, Princess, Holland again and now Carnival. We wanted a younger clientele this time but didn't get it. Choosing a 11 night New England cruise was the reason. We don't like getting nickeled and dimed to death after dropping a couple of grand for a cruise. While other cruise lines are starting to charge for ice cream, providing only water and ice tea for free and prohibiting the carry on of any alcoholic beverage, Carnival provides a variety of free drinks, and allows in-cabin consumption of wine and champagne as long as you bring it from home. Unless some of the cruise lines change their alcohol policy, we won't be using them. I find it insulting that you have to sneak a bottle in and hide it in your room if you want to have a few cocktails in your room before dinner. Out of our previous cruises, Holland America still has the best alcohol policy. They have $7 32 ounce megadrinks and they don't care what you bring on - but even their policy seems to be constantly changing. On our first cruise with them you could buy a $20+ bottle of Absolut in their store to bring to your cabin for $8 with 20% corkage fee but not on the second cruise with them. Carnival's drink of the day was $2.95 but was small and mostly ice. But after having a few glasses of wine in our cabin, we didn't care. :) Summary Toward the beginning of our cruise, we had a family emergency back home. Carnival left us voice mail to go to the purser's office to get the message. They gave us the message and then encouraged us to call home from their office for free, and to come back any time if any additional calls were necessary. They even followed up the next day to see if there was any thing else they could do. Fortunately, the emergency didn't require us to fly home early. This was greatly appreciated. We had a great cruise. We really appreciate the effort Carnival makes to provide great value.

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Aug 23, 2002

The Baltic

I am submitting after reading two others with quite different perspectives. We loved the cruise! The decor, by Carnival's own word, is Entertainment Decor (ie Las Vegas style) and is more garish than I expected: gray urns all over the place, brown and gold everywhere. There is almost no wood on the ship - the spots where you might expect it are plastic! Which is not to say that the decor is cheap because Carnival made up for the lack of

wood by providing tons of marble and granite on floors and in bathrooms (public ones). It was a pleasure to settle down into a brand new ship. The only off note was that our cabin steward failed to clean the shelves and drawers from the 3 day travel agent trip which preceded ours and when I reached for the hair dryer someone's long black hair was in the drawer. Icky. I ended up cleaning the glass shelves in the bath as well since his rag was evidently linty. This was reported and we did not give him any extra tips even though he did well throughout the rest of the trip. Cute towel animals and all! We selected 8A guarantee and were upgraded to a balcony (64% balconies on this ship) on the 8th floor. Not a good floor. It is just below the Lido deck with all the foot traffic and cleaning. Almost no soundproofing between Lido and 8th floor, though it was good between cabins and no problem between 7th and 8th floors. We also had a very odd odor perhaps from a deep fryer in several cabins near us (8187) which was mostly fixed when we stopped in Helsinki (the shipyard that built the ship - workers swarmed the ship for warranty repairs!!). Other than that, I cannot say enough good things about the cabin size, decor, and amenities. We had the usual Carnival basket of toiletries and candies, a hair dryer, safe, etc. Lots of storage. We took 2 medium sized bags and had no trouble putting everything away with room left over. AND, a BIG plus - the beds are raised compared to older ships so our new extra deep bags (you have noticed the change...) fit perfectly under the beds. We were on RCCL's Splendour last fall and our new bags would not have made it there. I love having a balcony but next time I am going to remember to choose portside! The public space on the ship is huge! There were always places with few people if you wanted to get away from it all. We did not have a problem getting a good seat for the shows by arriving a half hour early. The primo maximo show by far was one by John Davidson. What a terrific entertainer! Plus he sat on my lap and sang to me...The Las Vegas type shows were excellent also - exceptionally professional. For an inaugural cruising we thought the problems were pretty minimal compared to things I had heard from other sailings. It was our first inaugural and we picked it because it sailed on our anniversary! Plus I love new. The food in the dining room was so excellent that we never saw the need to try the Supper Club though many we spoke to just loved it. Every night there were high end selections like lamb, filet mignon and lobster. Also a lot of fun congo lines, etc. Our waiter (Ivo from Croatia) was superb. Our food arrived hot every time. We heard some passengers who sat in the balcony complain of cold food but we sat on the lower level. Our waiter, however, claimed that it was a wait staff issue, not a floor issue. Food on the Lido deck was only OK, in our view, though we do not like buffet seating on a cruise anyway. However, on the plus side, the staff had several stations with a variety of food at lunch, specializing at one station in foods of the world. So, when we stopped in Germany, lunch was German food. I only wish more ships would do that. We found the staff to be cheerful and excited about the ship and itinerary. Many came from Estonia and other countries nearby so they were met by relatives, etc and had a ball. They universally told us that it was the best to be an employee of Carnival because the company treated them better than other cruise lines treated their staff. They have an employee lounge and outdoor pool (it is impossible for a guest to find). In addition, they were given a lot of shore time. We found our waiter by accident at the same restaurant we were at in Tallinn. He kidded with us by coming up with a pad in hand to take our order. His friends thought it was a hoot and took pictures! So I would totally disagree with anyone who thought the staff morale was poor. We found exactly the opposite. We spoke with quite a number of them about the countries where they were from since we had been to most of them. They were friendly and eager to please. There was a problem with one laundry room's design (I figure some man did it!) where the ironing board was right next to the door so if someone were ironing, he or she would be jolted when someone walked in, banging against the board, or even the ironer. When I reported it to the Purser's Office, an asst housekeeping mgr was dispatched within 5 min and the iron was removed so the danger was prevented. The room had not been kept clean by the steward either (seems to be the weak point in staffing) so the mgr called him on the carpet and the room was much improved. Shore excursions were typical and lifted from Holland America since this ship may only do this itinerary once (it was a test run for Europe and was totally full with very enthusiastic guests so I would imagine we may see Carnival in Europe somewhere next summer). We only signed up for St Petersburg since we had not gotten a personal visa for Russia. The morning tour of the city was a mess, not because of Carnival, but because 3 separate couples did not return on time to the bus after the 3 stops. It was really outrageous behavior since most of us had afternoon tours booked which we all nearly missed. My husband was so irate (and he is mild mannered) that he demanded an apology from the last couple that was 20 min late. As it turned out, we were not the only late bus and the afternoon tours were sent out a little late to compensate. We enjoyed the Peterhof which was in quite good shape though only a small percentage of its rooms were restored. At least the grounds looked nice. Catherine's Palace, on the other hand, still needed an exterior paint job and the grounds were weeds. The Hermitage was impressive - though the poverty of Russia was apparent in its grounds also. And that was the sad part. Russians are poor. Their water supply is not safe to drink. They had very little to sell tourists - cheap copies of the nesting dolls, etc. One interesting note is that the large cruise ships have to dock in the commercial port way out from the center city (we even raced a train and were delayed by it the first morning). Small ships like Seabourn can dock right downtown. First AM, we were also greeted by smoke in the city from forest fires - a number of guests thought the ship was on fire! We had rain at night and the next day was clear. We were certainly all impressed with Estonia after seeing the sad plight of the Russians. By comparison, Tallinn is a going concern - bright and cheerful with an attractive old town. We spent the day there and even saw the 140th Anniversary of the Fire Dept Parade. There is a cute small tourist train which tours the city. Cabs are an interesting matter. IF you can catch an Estonian cab, the fare is $2 to town from the port. However, IF not, and you get a Russian cab, it is $10! We learned that from a native in town so saved some money going back! In Copenhagen and Helsinki, we took the open air double decker tourist buses. It was hard to find them in Helsinki but they were at the port in Copenhagen. The shuttle to town in Helsinki was NOT free as we all expected but we took it anyway. The Rock Church there is the must see. In Copenhagen, we went to Tivoli since we had missed it before. It only took a half hour to tour the place, it is so small. We ate lunch there to kill some more time. Warnemunde was a fun stop since we were the entertainment for the town. Many of them showed up to see us off, waving American flags, etc. The ship hired bands at several of the ports - St Petersburg was especially interesting since the band played American songs. We took an open air boat to Rostock and wandered around for the day. We had already been to Berlin. Folks told us it was a very long day with little food on the train. Amsterdam was a city where we spent a week in 1991 so we basically went to the train station and walked all over, taking a canal trip just for old times sake. Indonesian lunch in town. Altogether, we had a wonderful time. Our seatmates at dinner were great fun which makes a huge difference also. I would go again on Legend. We feel like it is ours!

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

I was a first time cruiser on the Legend sailing out of Tampa on March 8 traveling to Roatan, Grand Cayman, Belize and Cozumel. I did a lot of research on Carnival and their ships and the cruise was pretty much what I expected. I was there with a large group and that in itself made it very entertaining. If youre looking for a vacation where you want to be by yourself and escape the crowds this is NOT the cruise line for you. Carnival is exactly

what they say, the "FUN SHIP" company. They go out of their way to keep you entertained. The food was good at times. The Truffles restaurant offers a wide selection of food to appeal to everyone's taste. You have to get the Chocalate Melting Cake. It is very good. I'm a very healthy eater and I was able to eat a good diet, for the most part, on the ship. I suggest trying to eat at Truffles not only for dinner but for lunch as well. Indira was our waitress at dinner and she was very good. The Unicorn cafe is the main food area and is open 24 hours a day. Be sure to get breakfast and lunch at the posted times because if you dont they don't offer much. We had a late night one night at was looking for something to eat and all they had was hamburgers, fries, pizza and calzones. However, I did catch Unicorn cafe one night and they had a Sushi bar open. It was very good. For breakfast, the Unicorn offers everything from cereal, fruit, made to order eggs, coffee, juice, yogurt, bacon, etc... They also offer egg whites as an option for the omelettes. Don't expect midnight buffets every night. They only offered a Mexican buffet one night and it was average at best. Nothing special. The Room Service menu is also limited, however, I used it one time and they were very prompt. If you like seafood, you're in luck. They offer everything from Salmon, shrimp, Octopus(not bad), and chocolate sushi. Yes, chocolate sushi and it was excellent. We had an interior stateroom. It was fine. It had plenty of storage with 3 large closet doors with plenty of shelves and places to hang clothes. However, I would bring hangers: not many in the room. There are NO alarm clocks in the room, so if u don't want to use the wake up call service, I brought a little wind up travel alarm clock and it worked out just fine. One of my biggest complaints is that there were not many outlets. The beds were always made and the towels were always changed. They even would straighten up our bathroom every day including our toilettries. The rooms are what they are. A place to shower and sleep. The onboard activiites were plentiful but none appealed to us. The entertainment was a step down from an episode of "America's Got Talent." They offered a balancing act one night, and I know it's a ship, but he failed several times on doing his stunts. Another occasion they offered a "Motown" night. She was a good singer but only sang 5 songs and 4 of the songs were not from the Motown era. Satchmo's had a band that was very good. Can't remember their name, but they were 5 Asian or Latino guys, but they played everything from Barry Manilow to Van Halen and AC/DC. Jason, in Billie's Piano Bar, was very good as well. Drink prices: Bud 16 oz. $5.75( after the 15% gratuity that Carnival automatically adds in). Get the bucket of beer. It comes with 4 aluminum 16 oz Bud Light's at about $20 total. It comes with ice, as well, so u can save some later if u so choose. I highly recommend the Stingray City tour. However, if u want to save a few bucks don't book through Carnival. There are several companies on the Internet that will do it for about $40/person. Ours included Stingray City plus two snorkeling stops. We also did the Cave Tubing in Belize. We booked it through Cave-Tubing.com. We paid about $45/person and it was well worth it. We had a one hour bus ride to the caves and the tubing took about an hour and a half or so. Our tour guide, Keith, was young but very knowledgable about the city and the caves. I also recommend renting jeeps in Cozumel and going around the entire Island. We saw some amazing beaches by doing this and there were hardly any tourists at the stops we made. We also stopped at some old city, can't remember the name, but I bought SOL beer at $2/each. That beats the 6 bucks you pay on the cruise ship for Bud Light. Roatan was very beautiful. The shops were also very good. They offer several items made out of mahogany. However, once u get off the ship be prepared to be bombarded by people offering you cab rides and bus tours. They get one ship in about every week so be ready. We had so many people around us I put my wallet in my front pocket. Overall my trip was very good. I got some time to meet new people and spend quality time with my wife's family. However, Im not much of a people person so I'm not sure if I would cruise again. If I did I would probably try another cruise line - only from what I heard from other people on the cruise. If you're looking for a inexpensive vaction this is the way to go.

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Nov 30, -0001

n/a

The cruise was fantastic! The ship tilt was not all that people are making it out to be. I fell over when this "tilt" occurred, I got up, picked up everything that flew off the shelves and got dressed for dinner. I feel for the people who were injured while in the pool. Our room was on the first deck also, but at no point did the water rise to the windows as I have read in other reviews. Experienced travelers know that there is also a

chance of something happening. At no point was I, my husband or children scared at any point after this. The only reason we kept thinking about it at all was we had to listen to tall tales in the elevator, at the pool, in the spa, at the gym...yada yada yada... I highly recommend the cruise....Cruise director was great, shows were really good, food was yummy, Billy's Bar was the best...We love you Darin.... Happy Sailing

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Nov 30, -0001

No. Europe/Baltic

Cruise Line: Carnival Sailing Date: August 24th, 2002 The Legend far exceeded our expectations, as it was the first Carnival cruise we'd taken. Our balcony cabin was cozy and well-attended; the dining had good variety and quality, with very congenial service at all meals. Our 10-year-old pronounced Camp Carnival "the best" of our cruises - this was our 3rd this year. She had a ball! The only real complaint was that in St. Petersburg,

Russia - mind you, this was a one-shot deal for Carnival - the tours were not staggered enough to accommodate the Russian immigration standards, and the lines became interminable for any given tour. Given the ship's capacity and percentage of interest in the Russian tours, these were formidable and frustrating scenes!  On all the tours, no assistance at all was given to any passenger not "able-legged". For one on crutches, this was not pleasant. Otherwise, the Legend's staff was superb, the cruise activities were delightful, and it was altogether a singular experience!

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Carnival Legend Eastern Caribbean Sue Ruggero Guess What, I too was on that wonderful cruise - wherein the boat almost capsized! I don't think I'll ever forget the sheer panic that we all felt those few minutes when the boat was tipping. I thank god I was in my room, it was approximately 5:10pm and we were getting ready for our dinner, when all of a sudden it felt like we were tipping over, everything was flying off our counters

and I said to my husband - "Are we tipping over? He ran and looked out the window and he said "I think we are" My 3 kids started to panic - I immediately called my mom who was on deck 1. She was screaming that her window was under the water. My nephews both fell off their beds. It was pretty scary - we left our room to see what was happening and we saw some people in life jackets - now that was scary - (because god forbid the ship did fall on it's side - do you really think any of their rescue drills would work.) We made it to the main deck and waited to hear from the Captain - finally he came over the loud speaker and announced that the ships "list" - I guess that's another word for almost flipping over - was due to a computer glitch and that the problem was now corrected. Well I did not feel that safe on the rest of the trip then - we still had 2 long days at sea. One of the highlights after that was the karoke show that night in the follies lounge - when a guy got up and sang "Don't rock the boat, don't tip the boat over!" Everybody roared. So, I still don't really know if I like really cruises or not. One thing is for sure I would never cruise from NY again it was just too long at sea with out seeing land - I really felt trapped after the "TIP"....No word from Carnival about their mistake - let's see if they make it up to all the cruisers that they scared out of their wits!

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Carnival Legend Eastern Caribbean Janet All in all this was a great cruise. I will try to detail the likes and dislikes we had. There were 8 of us from age 12 to age 81. We sailed on the Legend on Aug 9,2005 DECOR I noticed right off that the ship has a renaissance feel to it. There is artwork all over the ship including the elevators. Some of it had nudity. I didn’t find this a problem but my parents (age80 and 81) did. I found

that the use of urns on all the stair ways etc was a bit overdone. I might have thought better of it if they were gold instead of silver. I say this because the large baseboards and archways in the public areas were a very dark maroon and accented with gold. I didn’t understand why the urns would be in silver. It didn’t seem to match. ENTERTAINMENT I wasn’t particularly fond of the cruise director. Brett. He did a great magic act but he seemed more goofy than professional. There was no galley tour and only 1 ice carving demo. They had of course pool games and bingo and shows. The shows were good and varied from, Broadway type to magic to singers and comedians. Also they did have some adult only shows which were announced ahead of time so that you didn’t bring the kiddies to those. FOOD AND DINING ROOM SERVICE The Dining room and our waiters are fantastic. We were upstairs and our waiter was Albert, his assistant Edison. They were both extremely friendly and by the 2nd night Albert had each of our names down. When someone in our group wasn’t at dinner he would mention it, in a friendly manner, as Oh is Pete not feeling well? Anyway, we never had to ask for more drinks or bread. Many times Albert would bring a 2nd full dinner to one of our husbands saying, 1 won’t be enough for you!. I feel that Albert and Edison did an outstanding job for us and that I hope to see them on another cruise again. It really was the best service I have had on any cruise I have taken. More with food. The Lido Deck is broken up into sections. There is a NY style deli, serving great sandwiches such as turkey, pastrami, corned beef, tuna etc. There was a Chinese food area serving all the great things like lo mein and seafood in lobster sauce, sweet and sour chicken, rice, fried and plain. There was a rotisserie with things like chicken, beef, potatoes, vegetables etc. There were also the traditional hamburgers and hot dogs in another part of the Lido Deck. There is 24 hour pizza, calzones, Caesar salad and ice cream. And the desserts, what can I say besides YUMM!!! You can eat inside the air conditioning or outside in the air. The service on the Lido Deck was also very good. On 2nd hand information, my sister and husband give the Golden Fleece Supper club an outstanding review. It was 30.00 a person, but she says it is well worth it. Dave, my Brother in law had a 24 oz steak! Need I say he is a big guy! CABINS We all had balcony cabins and I have to say that I do enjoy the privacy of having a place to sit and look out over the water. Unfortunately our cabins were on the deck where the life boats were directly under us. In actuality they were even with the floor of our balcony so that if there was no rail you could step right onto the top of the boat. I personally didn’t like it for 2 reasons. You could not look down at all. All you had was this large orange wall to look at if you looked down. And 2nd on this level all the pulleys and ropes and gears are at eye level. Not great for picture taking. I would recommend that if you like your balcony rooms to pay the extra 100 bucks or so and go up another level. We were on the upper deck so go above that one for a better view. PORTS OF CALL We had a wonderful tour at San Juan. We did not go with the cruise ship as it was something like 38.00 a person and we just wanted to explore on our own. When we walked out of the pier there were people from different local tour operators. We hooked up with a great one. We were charged 10.00 a person for a 2hr tour. It was to both Old and New San Juan. We were giving the option of being dropped off downtown or go back to the ship. Mind you the downtown area is only about 3 or 4 blocks from the docks. We saw many interesting things and enjoyed this port. Next stop was St Thomas. Here is where you should shop. There are 2 areas. If you don’t want to go to the main downtown area you can stay near the port. It’s only a 5 minute walk to a newer shopping area called the Havensight Mall. Its shops just like downtown without the charm of old St Thomas. You can basically get everything here as well as downtown. We opted to take a taxi to downtown for 4.00 pp. They dropped us off at a small flea market area, which was about 1 block from the "real shopping" There were ladies that were doing braids, basically if you don’t want to get your whole head braided you can do 6 braids for 10.00 and you pick the colors of the beads you want. You must look for Oprah there. She is a beautiful light gray donkey, her owner has dreads and is in African clothing. You give him a tip and you can take your picture with her. She is all decked out in a hat, sunglasses and lipstick! Then onto the main streets of shopping. I still prefer the old alleyways and cobblestone areas to the main street. It is really a shopping mecca with shop after shop after shop. You can find liquor for about 1/3 the price of the mainland. You can find tee shirts, perfume, jewelery,key chains and the like. We had a great time. This by far was my favorite port. We didn’t bother to take a tour because we knew we would be shopping and enjoying ourselves in this great port. I did hear that a 2hr tour was about 20.00 a person. Here again my sister and her family went on the sky ride to the top of the mountain (this was on their own, not a cruise tour). There were places to take funny pictures where you put your face in a hole and it looks like you are dressed up as clowns and things like that. They all said it was worth the "unairconditioned" cars of the sky ride. I am very afraid of heights and this is not something I could not do. She did get some beautiful pictures of the cruise ships in port and the harbor. Our final stop was Tortola and my only question for Carnival is "why this port" Unless you did one of their cruise shore excursions there wasn’t anything to do. Yes of course there are beaches. We did the dolphin swim and were very very disappointed. We had done this previously in Nassau a few years back and the 2 cannot be compared. We had an older dolphin named Hippo. His trainer was not very nice to either him or us. He didn’t want to perform. We did complain to the cruise shore excursion desk and were given a 40.00 credit due to our disappointment. Basically the trainer was mad that Hippo wouldn’t co-operate. She kept on banging the water with a large pole, The most she got out of him was a hand shake, and a kiss for each person and the highlight was when you swam out to the middle of the water and Hippo turned onto his back, you grabbed his fins and he brought you back to the platform. We paid 159.00 per person for this tour and it was not worth it in the least. If you plan to do this at anytime, save it for Nassau as the experience is much more active and is really a once in a lifetime activity. Our Days at Sea were very peaceful and relaxing. These are the days when you can jump in with 2 feet or simply do nothing at all. I was disappointed in the choices of activities although it was wonderful to just relax and enjoy the sun and be with my family. As stated before there were pool games but I never saw them in our daily schedule. They had the traditional old standards as the newlywed/not so newlywed game and the like, cruise feud. I did see kids running around the ship on several scavenger hunts. It was funny when they asked my sister if she was 6 feet tall (she is 5'7") PHOTOGRAPHY There are many many opportunities to have professional pictures done. Lots are the normal backgrounds, and we especially liked the ones with the pretend rail of a ship, bow of a ship in the background, but there were fun things too. Dress up like the 1800's, or get your face on a wanted poster. Some of the backgrounds are really unique and others are the same as on any ship. SHOPPING AND CASINO ON BOARD Both my daughter and I were disappointed in the shopping on board. They had several shirts that they only had in small, the copies of the little towel animals (the ones that the cabin stewarts put in your room) were limited to 1 style. There were snacks on board that were very expensive. A can of Pringles was 4.00. I don’t know why anyone would want to buy snacks when you have non stop food thru-out your cruise. The tee shirts and jackets go down to 50pc off once we got to the middle of the cruise. I would wait to purchase anything on board,until you have hit the ports of call. As for the casino, I thought there is a large variety of slots from penny slots to 5.00 slots. They were also the gaming tables if you wanted those. Im not a great gambler but it was fun wasting 10.00 of pennies. STAFF I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that the crew of this ship is extremely friendly. Everyone seemed to be happy in their jobs. From the captain right down to the maintenance man that change a light bulb for us. One really nice this on Carnival in general is that when you have a few cabins in a row for your group they can open the balcony doors between the cabins so that it can be a bigger shared balcony. We did this with our cabins and it was very nice. The other nice part of this little feature is that you don’t have to go thru the hallway to get to the other room. You can knock on the back door that leads to the balconies. I liked this because my daughter age 12 could go to her grandparent’s room without using a public hallway. In today’s day and age, Im all for extra security. And speaking of security. This ship has a lot. I saw security guard walking in the hallways, police dogs walking on the side of the ship while in port and you need to show your sign and sail card to get into the gates near the ship. I felt very secure.

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By Matt_CR

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Carnival Carnival Legend Eastern Caribbean Matt My Grandfather decided to take our whole family on a cruise. He left it up to me, my cousin and uncle to decide which cruise to take and to plan and book the cruise. The embarkation was Easy, not nearly as bad as my last cruise out of NY in 2001. When we got there, we couldn’t find a porter because we where there a little early, and there were still people getting off the ship,

but there were some porters carts around and we put our luggage on it and brought to the elevator, where the Port staff took it to the ship. We took the elevator upstairs and walked into the terminal. When we got in the check in line they said that it didn’t start yet, and there was an area with chairs set up for us to wait at. (Not the upstairs waiting area). When they were ready in about 20 min, we went right through security and into the check-in line. The fun-pass does make it a lot quicker, but there are not 2 separate lines for fun-pass and non-fun-pass, so you wait in the line with people who take a long time too. but we didn’t wait in line b/c we were there so early. Check in went quickly even though my dad wasn’t with us b/c he was meeting the ship in San Juan. (Business). He was also able to check in easily in San Juan. I suggest when you get on, if you are going to your room, use either the forward of aft elevators, not the midship b/c there are 2500 ppl trying to use the same 7 elevators. We had 16 people in 4 balcony staterooms and 3 were upgraded to an extended balcony. Honestly, the extended balcony is no big thing, and is really only about 14" bigger than a normal balcony which still had plenty of room for 4 people. In the rooms there was plenty of draw and closet space for clothes for 4 people for 8 days. After we unpacked, there was plenty of room under the beds for the suitcases. I was not on the upper bed, but the 3 bottom beds were very comfortable. (By the way the drawers under the couch bed do open- you just have to lift them up a little.) the weird thing was that the pillows were different. some of them were nice and soft and had good volume, however some were like pancakes. Our room steward, Conrad was great. the room was always clean and the towel animals were always impressive. He also always had a smile on his face and was very polite whenever passed him in the hallway. The bathroom was clean and there was soap & Shampoo in the shower along with a basket of other things like toothpaste and disposable razors. The food in the lido was good, and there was coffee and drinks available 24 hrs a day (unlike Royal Caribbean), along with the 24 hr pizza. Breakfast was the same everyday, but they had a lot of breakfast stuff, so it didn't matter. The Omelet's are good, and they will put anything you want in them, even if they have to get it from the buffet line. Lunch was good too, outside by the pool they at burgers, hot dogs, chicken, etc from the grill, along with fries, chili, and potato salad on the buffet line. Inside they had the Asian food (I didn't eat there- so I can't comment), the Taste of the Nation had a different theme every day, greek, Caribbean, etc. The Rotisserie was good, always with and oven roasted something, and other courses involving potatoes, vegetables, and some other meats. The deli was great, you could get whatever kind of sandwich you wanted on whatever kind of bread/roll you wanted. Dinner in the dining room was great. Sinclair, our head waiter at one table, and Warren our head waiter at the other table were great, so where the asst. waiters Emil and Andres. Irina, the bar waitress was also great. Dinner was great and the desserts were even better. Yes, as I’ve read in other reviews the flourless chocolate cake is fabulous, and some pudding thing later in the week is a close 2nd. The decor on the ship was a little odd, but it didn't bother me. The yellow 'W/M' design on the wood seemed to bother aunt a lot though. In San Juan, we didn’t book a tour, but hired a taxi to take us to El Morro, however, we never got there. I spoke speak a little Spanish, but when we got to Fort St. Christopher, he said in english "You must get out now" and he wouldn't take to El Morro, the fort you pass when entering the harbor. San Juan is just like NYC, but hotter, and with lower buildings. My dad hated it b/c it he had to get to the ship from the "international" airport and there are no highways in the city, and it took him 1 hr to go 6 miles. he said he was the only jet in the airport, everything else was an old DC-3. St. Thomas was beautiful, first we went shopping in Charlotte Amalie, then we took a tour to St. John Trunk Bay beach which involves a ferry ride, then a taxi ride to the beach. The taxis are more like open air vans with a roof, and the drivers like to scare the passengers on some of the roads. (They had the nerve to call the road we went on "St. John 20 WEST" If you take it, you'll see where it goes. But once we got to the beach, it was beautiful. The Next day, in Tortola, we went on our own to Cane Garden Bay Beach, which is across the island. If you thought the drivers in St. John were scare, you're in for another treat. its the same except the mountains are taller, and the roads are steeper, in fact, in some places they can’t see around the corner, or stop the truck, so they have to honk the horn all the way around the curve. I heard the story of the ship almost tipping over a few weeks ago, and I noticed the Captain was not Claudio Cupisti, and that it was Captain Roberto Garibbo, who did a fine job sailing the Legend, although he seemed extremely young for such a high position (mid-late 20's?) This cruise was much rockier than the previous 2 I have been on, but those ships were both larger than the legend. The cruise director, Brett Alans was good too. He does a great Magic show too. He is pretty funny while he does his talks and during the shows and that stuff. Tori, the asst. cruise director was good too, and so where Lloyd and Mouna, the social hosts. Overall the cruise was great. My first cruise was on Carnival, in 2001, and I was amazed. My second was on Royal Caribbean, last year, and at the time it seemed great, but that was because I had kind of forgotten about Carnival. Now that I have gone on Carnival again, I realize how much better the food and the service is aboard Carnival. Ideally, the perfect cruise would be about 75% of Carnival and 25% of Royal Caribbean.

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Nov 30, -0001

cruise to nowhere

Cruise Line: Carnival Sailing Date: October 17th, 2002 This was my third cruise on carnival. And my 10th overall, so I have a lot to compare this to. Boarding the ship took about 45 minutes, the decor on the ship was completely unique, I loved it, completely over the top! It was really cool. Since this was only a 2 day cruise to nowhere and in October I took an inside cabin on Deck 6, plenty enough space for my husband and I, very

clean the bathroom was very nice and they had a basket of just about anything you need shavers, mints, toothpaste, lotions, shampoo, olay face clothes. The shower has thermostat control on it, all grohe fixtures very nice. A friend of ours had an outside cabin with an extended balcony, and if I took this ship again I would have to have this the balcony was big enough for 5 of us. Cabin steward was wonderful. They also had 1st run movies in the room at no charge. The food was not great, The burgers were probably the best thing to eat. But, I heard the Golden Fleece is great. It cost 25 dollars pp. and men must wear a jacket, which my husband did not bring since it was only 2days, I was sorry to miss it. My friends raved. The entertainment was also not bad not great. The first night was a new show called Legends, my husband fell asleep and I didn't blame him. I did see a comedian who was very funny and I can't remember his name, he was an older black male. The casino was vey big lots of tables and slots. The arcade was huge all the latest for the teens and adults. i didn't bring the kids but checked out Noah's ark anyway for futures cruises, it was really great, the had spin art, candy art, tunnels, computers and much more. I also went to an art auction, which is fun and we bought 2 pictures to add to our collection from previous cruises. I had a massage and this was wonderful the girl really knew what she was doing it totally relaxed me. Departing was the easiest ever since we went nowhere we didn't have to go through customs, we just walked off with our bag in hand. We parked our car at port for 18 dollars a day, total of 36 dollars. overall I had a great cruise, and I would take this ship again. I thinking about this summer.

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Nov 30, -0001

Canada/New England

Cruise Line: Carnival Sailing Date: September 22nd, 2002 We just got off the new Carnival Legend, round trip New York City on its first purely North American cruise. And what a beauty she is! The latest from Carnival is a Spirit class vessel, and we cruised with just over 2000 passengers which is not near full capacity, but since there were few children on this 11-day itinerary, this is to be expected. We cruise to have fun, and

so take the observations below the way we do, with tongue firmly in cheek. If what I describe really bothers you, then perhaps you should try another cruise line or ship, but we very much enjoyed this cruise as we do every cruise, and the negatives I mention are meant to be amusing more than serious, vacation-impacting type flaws. EMBARKATION: New York does not yet possess a state of the art facility, but Carnival used Disney techniques to keep the lines moving and the people generally satisfied that they were getting somewhere while they waited to be served. Bags were dropped off to porters outside at the curb, far too small for this size of ship. Passengers went inside to get in the security line. Since we had a guaranteed cabin, but unassigned, we had to check a printout before writing our cabin numbers on our luggage tags. The security line took about a half hour, and then we waited maybe 10 minutes to reach the check-in counter, where we received our card keys. Not great, but not bad considering the antiquated facilities. THE SHIP The new ship worked nearly flawlessly, and was the latest in modern cruise ship design in all respects. The ship is the smoothest I have ever sailed on, so those who are prone to seasickness will be very pleased on her. With 30 knot winds, and 7-10 foot swells, the ship never rocked more than 5 degrees from horizontal, according to a sailor/passenger who brought his equipment along. Personally, I would have preferred a bit more motion, but it did make walking the halls a lot easier. The décor was Carnival glitz, with black, orange/peach and purple used in abundance, and accents in copper. They must have spent a fortune on this metal, and in painting wood/plastic surfaces with copper paint! Watch out for the top of the cabin light - it gets hot! Lots of glass and mirrors were used too, as were the artistic laminate sheets which formed the walls all around the ship, not nudes like the Spirit, but close. Themes varied from Greek to Gothic around the ship. Overall, the effect was too much for Margie, but I really liked it. The ship is beautiful. CABINS We had a Cat 8A guarantee and were upgraded to an 8F, which got us a balcony cabin on the verandah deck forward on the starboard side. There was no real advantage to being on either side in particular for this itinerary. The cabins seemed to feature the combined knowledge of all of the 30 years Carnival has been a company, with everything incorporated into the design. We had twice as much luggage with us as we would normally carry since we spent 10 days in New York prior to the 11-day cruise. But all of it fit in the 3 large closets, drawers, and small end table cabinets. There were large drawers under the couch that could be used in a pinch too - these stored extra blankets and covers for the couch should it be made into a bed. All of our empty luggage fit neatly under the bed. The bathroom had little glass shelves and this clever use of vertical space made for adequate storage for our bathroom gear. One 110/220V outlet was provided here, and another on the desk. The shower was very thoughtfully designed, and seemed bigger than it really was due to angling. We are not particularly large, but I think the shower would be acceptable to all but the most morbidly obese, and there was always plenty of hot water. The desk doubled as a makeup area, with makeup lights running vertically on either side of the mirror, and the hairdryer built into the top desk drawer. My friend who went on the Spirit commented on the desk drawer pulls being these little pieces of rope, which seems at first glance to be cheap, and not very cohesive with the rest of the room décor. But after thinking about it some, I marveled at how Carnival had eliminated every sharp object that would come in contact with the average human. There were just 4 hooks, 2 in the bathroom, and all above 6 feet to make them less likely to be dangerous while walking around in the dark. So I guess I like the little rope pulls. I also liked that Carnival used "sticky hinges" on the drawers and doors. A door opened would tend to stay open, meaning less cabin noise while at sea. There is nothing worse than your neighbor's doors banging all night while they are gone (or deaf). The balcony access door was not my preferred sliding glass type, but a regular hinged door, with a very strong spring which makes it close rapidly and hard to open. But Carnival included a way to keep the door open! There were two little metal pieces in the safe cabinet which can be used to keep the door ajar. I'm sure many people can't figure out what these two things are for, and they really should explain. The balcony contained one fixed chair, one chair with an adjustable back, and one little table which is the same height as the chairs, and can be used as a foot rest. So we didn't ask for a lounger for the first time ever. Again, very clever design. The bottom line is the cabin space was very well used, and made cruising very comfortable. You have to appreciate a company that continues to learn from past designs. LIFEBOAT DRILL Carnival gets a C on this one. There are no A's. A passenger had an epileptic fit in our section, so while he lay prone, announcements were read over the intercom, and those in the front who were exposed to the sun wilted. Finally, we were released, and the cruise could begin! RESERVATIONS We made a reservation at the Supper Club for a sea day, but we needn't have bothered. The Supper Club was not very filled on any night on this cruise. More on this later. The Spa people also seemed desperate for business, perhaps due to the average cruiser being at the slightly ripe age of between 80 and dead. We didn't make any reservations here either, and later we negotiated a massage discount. We checked our table reservation - late seating - in a not very prime area. But we had a full table of 6, so we decided to see if we liked the people before we switched. They ended up leaving us! One couple just wanted to eat earlier. The other didn't like the table - it was too close to this large floor to ceiling pole. When we adjusted by moving our settings slightly, the waiters were bumping into the chairs on the other side of the table. We loved our servers, so we decided to stay at our table of 6 and see if anyone else was assigned, but they weren't. DINING This is our third cruise on Carnival, and it just keeps getting better. Without hesitation, I would say Carnival food is superior to that of Royal Caribbean, and close to that of Celebrity. On this ship, the dining room food at supper which is the only meal we consistently ate in the dining room, was very good. Fresh fish including lobster, crab and shrimp graced our plates. Red meat was very good, and the ethnic food was generally excellent. Look for the "Introduction to Indian food" or whatever it was called. The lasagna was also very good, as were most of the pastas. Salad was decent. Desserts were so-so. Upstairs, lunch featured several stations including pizza, a sandwich deli, oriental, a grill, salad, dessert, and a cuisine du jour station. What a selection! The only problem with all of this was that there were not enough seats to go around. But you'll love the choices. Breakfast also featured multiple food stations, including an omlette guy, etc. and was also extremely crowded. Service was excellent. Tables were cleaned as soon as they were vacant, and new silverware and napkins set down. The dining room featured the same menu each day at breakfast, and what they lacked in choice they made up for in seating, with the exception of the last (debarkation) day where they ran out of seats. At lunch you sat at your dinner table, and I have to wonder when they will go to open seating like everyone else, since lunch was sparsely attended. We received excellent service in the dining room from all concerned. I have never been on a ship that had it so together, and I give the maitre d' Ken full marks for making this crew work so well together. He is also a good singer, although this annoyed some people. Our server said Ken was the reason for the great dining room - she said she would follow him from ship to ship. My wife has dietary issues, and they made her special things, and in any case advised her as to the ingredients of each item. THE SUPPER CLUB Carnival's attempt to mimic a classic steakhouse ala Mortons, Ruth's Chris, etc. fell flat for us. The service was awful. Later, we found out that we had trainees as servers. Interesting that Carnival has chosen to bring new people in and train them as opposed to taking the best people from downstairs as other cruise lines do. At any rate, it didn't work for us. Tap water was poured in our glasses of Evian. My steak was very cold (although perfectly cooked and otherwise a delicious and huge prime cut). Margie's dietary concerns were not understood, and her "surprise appetizer" was filled with things she couldn't eat! The only item prepared tableside was the Caesar salad, and it was very amusing/painful to watch. "OK, now I am adding the lettuce. OK, now I am putting in the dressing." FREEZE! She stood there looking totally panicked. "Sorry. Sorry. Someone is supposed to be here! Sorry." After a couple of minutes, I suggested she simply serve it since whoever was supposed to be there was obviously not coming. She did, one leaf at a time. No pepper or cheese was offered. Well, there were other issues, but the last thing was the worst. I had a full glass of wine at the end of the meal, and they presented their checks, so I figured they wanted us to leave. As we did, and as I took my wine with me, we were stopped on the majestic staircase by the wine sommelier, and advised in front of everyone else dining that we could not take that glass with us, as per their policy. We stood there sort of stunned, as he brought us another glass and substituted it for their prized glass. Honestly, it hadn't occurred to me that there was anything special about it! We got back to our room and called the maitre d' who apologized, and then asked if "this meant we wouldn't be back". OK, whatever. We decided that this was probably an isolated incident, and the food quality had been very good, so we let it go until the second to last day of the cruise. Then we heard other passengers talk about how bad the service was at the supper club, and decided perhaps we should make a formal complaint. So I wrote a letter to the Hotel manager, Ms. Shahnaz Kashanipour. The response was truly amazing to me. Inside of an hour from when I dropped the letter off at the Pursers desk, both the Supper Club maitre d' and the ship Social Hostess were knocking on the door of our cabin! They wanted to know everything, and we let 'em have it. Afterwards, they explained that their biggest mistake was not putting trainee tags on the servers, and I agree with that. As former restaurant owners, we would have been far more patient and guiding to them had we known this. Anyway, they offered us a free dinner at the club, which we politely declined, since it was the last night of the cruise and we wanted to say goodbye to our excellent dining room staff. I had said in the letter we didn't expect compensation, but this was a very nice offer. Later, at dinner in the dining room, the maitre d' appeared and offered us an outstanding Meritage bottle of wine, gratis, courtesy of Ms. Kashanipour. At $100+ retail, I just couldn't turn that down! To sum up, we didn't have a good experience at the Supper Club, but Carnival gets great marks on their recovery. And in particular, Ms. Kashanipour has got to be one of the best hotel managers at sea. The service in every other respect on this cruise was fantastic, from the pursers desk, to the cabin people, to the bar servers. Of course crews move around, and I am sure Carnival puts their best on these new ships, but I was very, very impressed. ENTERTAINMENT Music is always Carnival's forte, and this cruise was no exception. Choices abounded in each night, and you could dance your heart away to a variety of types of music, all of it of pretty high quality. I wish I could say nice things about the shows. Their production shows just don't impress me, although I have to say most people liked them. The dancers were very good. The singers had too much reverb on their wireless mikes, and the high end was very distorted. New sound techs, maybe? In Portland, there was a local group of talented non-equity types who came on the ship and presented a "best of Broadway" performance. Carnival's techs apparently did a sound check rehearsal, but you couldn't tell. I felt sorry for the amateur performers who sang their hearts out, and were very talented. And this is not the first time I have seen carnival not be able to make their own equipment - millions of dollars worth - perform at anywhere close to capability. The headliners were nearly all comedians, and not very good ones at that. The fiddler on the last day was decent, but no one else impressed us. RCCL clearly has better shows. After we left Quebec, a passenger got curious during the early seating show, and walked on stage to gaze in the orchestra pit, where he fell 15 feet down in! I guess it was pretty ugly as his head was lacerated, so they cancelled the show, and stopped the ship and a lifeboat took him ashore to be airlifted back to Quebec. Meanwhile, we went to the "30 years of carnival" party in the disco, where in big letters they had "60's 70s and 80s", below the 30 years of carnival. Hmmmm. While dancing near Margie, a guy slumped to the floor and laid there. The Nurse was called (the doctor having been with the head wound guy, Mr. Chen), and the room cleared, end of party. I think he was OK though, and dancing around Margie will do that to you! OTHER PUBLIC ROOMS Casino The Casino was spacious and had some fun games. We didn't play and therefore didn't lose very much. Library The library hours weren't posted, so you had to check the daily Capers, and they didn't stay open long. They also didn't have many books - most were fiction. Cybercafe The computers were all in the library and at 75 cents a minute, were always available. I used them for email, and not very often. See my comments in the ports on where to find cyber cafes. Spa/Gym My wife got the massage with the hot rocks, and enjoyed it immensely. Retail was $140+tip, but when we complained they took off 20%. Still high, even for a 75 minute massage in my opinion. The Gym had plenty of treadmills, but they were popular so you had to sign up, and the average wait was 15-20 minutes. The jogging track wasn't used much on sea days due to wind. Shops The shops were decent, although we didn't buy much onboard. The lady at the formals shop made me a corsage to give to Margie for $12, which I thought was a decent price. Bars Bar service was excellent all over the ship. I bought a $38 soda card, and they all served me even though they were not being tipped. The service was very gracious, and efficient. Pursers Desk While not a public room, I needed a place to talk about the service here. I had a longstanding issue with Carnival trying to get my $100 cruise credit for being a stockholder. It is VERY difficult to get this credit these days! Anyway, I brought letters/faxes/stock statements with me since I didn't have any confidence that they had really credited my account, and they indeed hadn't. The pursers staff did email corporate for me, and the next day the credit appeared. Other questions were quickly and correctly answered, and the service here was friendly too. PORTS We are not tour people, so if you are looking for the best tour to take for this itinerary, try a different review. I will tell you what we did in each port, and how to save some money over the ship tours, and not have to spend all day on a bus! Boston We have been to Boston many times, so this was somewhat of a wasted port for us, especially since we arrived at 1pm, an hour early, but still most of the day was gone. The port people issued little tickets to wait for a cab, but never called any numbers and let people jump the cab "line", so we decided to walk to the South Street subway station, a bit over a mile from the port. Another ship was docked, and most of the cabs were stopping there rather than at the Legend. Anyway, on the way to the subway, we saw a cab and he picked us up and took us downtown. We ate lunch at Durgin Park, walked around downtown and shopped a bit, and cabbed it back to the ship. Portland, ME We have also been to Portland previously, but we decided to visit Kennebunkport as well as walk around the old port part of Portland. We rented a car with 117K miles at AC Brake in Portland. They were very nice and gave us a ride back to the ship after the rental, and the price was only $26.95 (but included only 150 miles). We ate lunch on the wharf in Kennebunkport at The Landing, and had a very good lobster sandwich. Most of the cruise ship people were milling around Kennebunkport too. We stopped at a few places on the way back, but nothing too noteworthy. We did find a coffee house downtown that had computers with a high speed link. I think they charged like $0.25 a minute, and I am sure there are better choices if you look around, but this was in the old port and easy walking distance from the ship. Quebec City (overnight) I saw the cruise director on the TV extolling the virtues of the "Grand Tour of Montreal" (BTW, Carnival still makes too many announcements, and I have a hard time with the "all passengers must attend" tour talks). He suggested that cruisers take this tour the first day, and do Quebec the next day. He also said it was an hour and a half to two hours to Montreal on the bus, and the tour was 9 hours in total. Well, it turns out it was 10 hours, and 3 ½ hours each way was on the bus! It was 150 miles, so I don't know what he was thinking. At any rate, people were upset at this, and at the condition of the busses, at least one with an unworking toilet. So Carnival ended up refunding $30 (of $109) for this tour after the fact. Another bit of CD advice was to "not bother changing any money into Canadian money", as everyone takes US dollars. This is bad advice. The guy at the funicular did take $1.50 US instead of $1.50 Canadian, but. The exchange rates at the place at the top of the Funicular was pretty bad - you can do much better elsewhere in town. Unlike the CD, I recommend you change a $20 on the ship to get you started. We decided to take a train or bus to Montreal, and headed to the Gare du Palois, a brisk 15 minute walk from the port in Quebec. There were only 3 trains a day each way, the last return at 6pm, so we decided to take the Orleans Express bus. They run once an hour each way, and the last bus leaves Montreal at midnight, affording plenty of time there. The cost was $42 US each, round trip. It was raining in Montreal, and the rain got harder and harder the longer we stayed. So we saw a couple of monuments via the excellent and spotless Metro, buying all day passes (C$7). We spent the most time, though, in the underground city, and Margie had a couple of made-in-Paris outfits follow her home. Good prices, and great designs. We took an 8:30 bus back, and a cab to the ship when we returned to Quebec, and were back onboard by 11:45pm. If I had this to do over, I would rent a car. It's cheaper, and you have more control over your day, although you have to pay parking in Montreal. I would definitely go back to Montreal! Anyway, Avis has the best deal - C$60 and unlimited miles. The other guys all have charges after 150-200km. The Avis outlet is at the Hilton hotel (go to the top of the hill by Funicular, and make a left on Rue St. Louis, I think. You'll see it. It's very close to the old port area, but downtown). Or take a cab there. You can also rent a car at the central train/bus station where we went, and at the airport, but that is a $25 cab ride. The second day we saw Quebec city, and what a pretty place! We had a great meal at Le Bonaparte (680 Rue Grande, downtown), which was crowded with locals. The cruise ship passengers tended to dine in the old port, which was very scenic and had shopping possibilities. It would have been nice to have a car for the morning - yet another reason to rent one. Sydney According to John Heald, the cruise director, this was a "bonus port" - in other words, not much to see. But he said there was one tour worth going on - the tour of the Cabot Trail where he would "guarantee you will see a moose, bald eagle, or other animals". Hmmm, after hearing this I wondered if it could be true. Anyway, we opted to rent a car from Hertz. The excellent information people at the port called Hertz for us, and while waiting for them to pick us up, we were given a very detailed map and directions along with advice on what to see by a friendly staff person there. We got our car and toured the "Highland Village" - a re-creation of houses in various time periods starting with the Scots arrival in Nova Scotia in the 1700s. Some houses were built for this exhibit, and others were brought here from other parts of the island. All were filled with articles from that time, and volunteers were garbed in period costumes. There was also a general store, blacksmith shop, and schoolhouse to tour. We had lunch at the Bell Buoy in Baddeck. I will never tire of lobster sandwiches. We did drive along the Cabot trail, and did not see any mooses (meese?). We did see little mouses crossing the road as we drove, so maybe I just heard the CD wrong. Anyway, later I heard passengers were upset they didn't see a moose, although if you read the quote above carefully, the CD didn't promise one. I asked the Hertz guy about this, and he said he had lived on Cape Breton for all of his life, and had seen a moose "maybe twice". Right at the port there was a craft fair, and Margie bought a little knitted beret for $20. There was also a free internet café, but there was also a line. All around Sydney there are free internet cafes, sponsored by the government. Halifax The recommendation from the CD was to go to Peggy's Cove, "one of the most secluded and peaceful places on earth". I couldn't imagine any place with 18 busses of cruisers being peaceful, so we opted to go into town and have lunch. We ate at the Little Fisherman (lower floor of the Five Fisherman, which is only open for supper on Argyle St.). What a great place!!! They made me a fish chowder to order, which was more like cioppino with a white sauce, blessed with fresh shrimp, scallops, lobster, etc. Yum! We saw the tour busses stop by one by one across the street while we were eating, and passengers frantically fanning themselves, and we wished for them to have a good day. We walked to the beautiful public gardens, and stopped at a free internet café (with coffee purchase) two blocks away on the main drag. We also shopped a little, but didn't see much. DEBARKATION We were amazed to see airport transfers being flogged for $55 to La Guardia per person in the Capers! What a rip off! Anyway, we decided to cab it there, and even with pretty heavy midtown traffic it was only $25 for both of us including tip. Getting off the ship and finding a porter was the easy part. We were the 3rd group called, but the cab line was already 100 people long. Again, this is more the port facilities, rather than a Carnival problem, but be ready for a wait. I should mention that you could use your original luggage tags if you wanted, or get a new color downstairs. You are supposed to exit by floor, but I could see the advantage of leaving with another group to avoid an instantly jammed hall. Carnival lets you stay in your room, which is nice. Oh, beware if you have a balcony cabin, as they clean it as early as 7am from outside, so don't be caught with your pants down, literally, as Margie was when the worker cleaned the windows outside ours. OVERALL We loved this cruise, and the Carnival Legend. The itinerary was OK, and our highlight was seeing Montreal for the first time. The service on the ship was the best of our 19 cruises, just outstanding. This will be a wonderful ship for the Caribbean and the warm water ports where the pool deck will come alive.

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Nov 30, -0001

Southern Caribbean

Cruise Line: Carnival Sailing Date: December 12th, 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 Café 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 one of the cruise boards. 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 café, 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 Café, 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 Perrier-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 Café, and sun on the balcony. Late lunch in Unicorn Café…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 our 2nd day reception 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 café 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: Décor: 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 décor 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.

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Nov 30, -0001

Southern Caribbean

Cruise Line: Carnival Sailing Date: November 24th, 2002 We set sail from Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale). We thought we'd get there early, but upon arriving at 11:30 a.m. we discovered long lines everywhere! Carnival did have people posted pointing people to snaking lines. We got at the end and about an hour or more later were in front of the agent. She quickly scanned our papers, gave us our sign & sail cards and wished us Bon Voyage.

From there it was up to the next floor -- and another long line! This one was to insert your card into a machine while they took your photo. Finally we got on the ship. Carnival doesn't tell you your table assignment in advance, and they don't have a way to check your table location other than to (you guessed it) stand in another line and wait to speak to the Matre 'd. I waited over an hour in this line to be told that out table was not in the main room, but a side room. There was no way to change as the early seating was fully booked. He put us on a "wait list." A try to spiff him $20 did not help -- he returned it! As it turns out we liked the table in the side room. It was quiet, in a corner of the room by a port hole. We came to love that table! I do think it would be nice if Carnival would give you a small brochure with the dining room layout and your table marked -- or even have a big display board. . . By this time I needed a drink! So we went to the Lido Deck (9th level with all the swimming pools). It was beautiful. The whole ship is beautiful. It's new and looks new. The bartenders and all the employees we ran into on the cruise were really nice, cheerful and helpful. I don't remember how many times someone asked if they could help, or just wished us a good morning. The alcoholic beverage helped! I tried to buy the $19.50 drink card I'd heard about but was told they no longer sell them. (Have since found out you can buy them over the web), so just put it on the sign and sail card. By now it was time to leave port. My family headed up to the bow of the ship on the Sun Deck (10) and what a beautiful sight! We saw the buildings of Fort Lauderdale slip behind us as small boats came around us. Truly a beautiful sight. The lifeboat drill was a madhouse. Nothing to compare it to, but large groups of people, noisy and just something to get through. We didn't feel the motion of the ship too badly. Our rooms were on the Panorama Deck (8) and we did get a lot of noise from above. I would recommend avoiding 8 and 5. 8 because the pools and bars are above you and 5 because the kiddie club is there. We met our room steward and gave her $20. She was wonderful! We asked for ice in the rooms, and coffee in the morning. Dang, never had to mention it again! The rooms were always clean, ice always there, and her cheerful face popping up now and again. My son came to love the little extras she did for him (cookies, extra towel puppets, etc.). Likewise our head waiter was terrific. He was very pleasant, worked hard and always had a joke or two (once he got to know us). The food in Truffles (the dining room) was very good, although the soup was always cold. We had a diabetic in the party and had informed Carnival of this before the cruise. He was always offered a sugar free desert which he said were amazingly good. The only real negative on the ship were all the smokers. The Legend doesn't have enough non-smoking places (the dining room and show room are non-smoking). The entertainment was spotty. I really disliked the cruise director. His name was Michael -- a semi-talented ham. The two Las Vegas style shows were great, but on other nights you could see as good at your local whatever. Some comedians were good some weren't. Some nights were downright boring. My 3 year old spent time in Camp Carnival. The counselors were great -- my only complaint was that it closes from 5-7 and we had the 6 dinner. He was often cranky by then. They should stay open during dinner so parents (and those around us) can have a quiet dinner. If they closed from 4-6 we could feed the kids and still enjoy our meal. The kids pool was wonderful. It was at the stern, with beautiful vistas everywhere. Besides a pool they had a jacuzzi / whirlpool which the kids loved! I like to exercise, and this, too was beautiful. All spanking new, in the bow of the ship. You work your treadmill or ski machine while gazing at the ocean. They had plenty of weight machines, yet another jacuzzi (this one indoors), and person trainers for a fee. The spa looked great, but I didn't use it. I DID use the gym's showers and they had those all over shower heads !! Wonderful! Unfortunately St. Maarten was only so-so. Our next stop, Barbados, was pretty much closed due to a national holiday. Would have been nice if Carnival had told us that before we chose this sailing! Ditto Martinique -- it was Sunday in this 90% Catholic island. Everything was closed! Hope this review doesn't come across as too negative. We loved the cruise and would do it again.

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Nov 30, -0001

Eastern Caribbean

Carnival Legend Eastern Caribbean Tina Devlin I was on the Carnival Legend that left NYC on May 13th, 2005. I can't say enough about the ship or the crew. The food was incredible!!! Our waiter/waitress (Azim & Petra) were INCREDIBLE!!! They were attentive, and Azim even got me a piece of key lime pie when it wasn't on the menu! They were always there when you needed them, and were lots of fun! The food was wonderful, plenty of it and

the quality was incredible -- desserts, too. The cocktail waitress was hard to find at times, but she was busy so that was understandable! (as if I needed more alcohol!) The Boat was so clean, I think you could've done surgery on the bathroom floor! I swear every time we left our room, they folded our toilet paper in a little triangle & replaced our towels! I've never seen anyplace so clean in my life. Morning, noon & night they were wiping down the deck, buffing the staircases, and mopping. The cleanliness of this ship was amazing. The entertainment was enjoyable, and Karaoke Dave was hysterical! The band in Sachmo's was great, too, and had the place singing "Sweet Caroline" almost every night! I had a great time on this cruise with my family/friends, and would ABSOLUTELY go back on this ship again. The ship was beautiful, the food was great, and the staff was friendly & attentive at all times! Great vacation!

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Nov 30, -0001

Bermuda

Cruise Line: Carnival Sailing Date: October 30th, 2002 We returned this morning from our 6 day trip from Baltimore to Bermuda still enthralled with our experience on the Legend. A few highlights: Our 6th deck suite was enormous (complete with double balcony). Cabin steward could not have been nicer or more accommodating. Every request and preference was immediately responded to and remembered. Dining room food was better than we had

experienced on previous non-Carnival cruises. Last night of cruise we enjoyed "The Golden Fleece", the Legend's gourmet dining restaurant. Entertainment, wine list, food selection was topnotch. Well worth the $25/person surcharge. Musical entertainment was terrific--performers, set designs, etc., all Las Vegas worthy. Passenger talent show brought down the house. Who knew so many talented people were in Baltimore? Best value we've encountered overall. Things to work on: several folks complained about deck 8 creaking and deck 9 sounds. It didn't affect us. Comedian and magician were poor and off-base in their humor given the crowd and time of day. No where in the literature did it describe TWO formal nights. We packed for one and punted the second night. Also it seems inappropriate for the dining room to admit people who choose not to participate in the formal night festivities. The Legend offers many, many alternative dining opportunities for those who wish to remain EXTREMELY casually dressed for the entire cruise. My impression is that for many of the passengers, the formal night is a really big deal and should be supported by Carnival by ensuring that their experience is respected. I tried to nap every day. This became difficult some afternoons when extraneous announcements were loudly broadcast into my suite. I don't really care about the 'ship soon rotating 360 degrees to align the TV satellite receiver', 'the ship is not rotating 360 degrees to align the TV receiver . . . 'the ship has NOW completed its rotation . . ." It seems VERY intrusive. While I recognize the challenges in serving so many people simultaneously, sometimes the food could be hotter. One of the positives is that Carnival simply charges a daily fee for dining service gratuities and cabin steward service. The last day during the disembarkation briefing, great emphasis was placed upon tipping the Maitre'd (who was not included in the daily charge). While I am sure that he facilitates a great deal and trains the staff, tipping him seemed a bit out of context given that I had no requests and never saw him wander through the dining room to ask passengers how they were enjoying their food or the service they were receiving. Lastly, another blackjack table would be valuable, as the seats at the one table were usually filled. Overall -- I'd absolutely recommend both the Legend and the experience to others.

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Nov 30, -0001

Harwich to New York via Iceland

Cruise Line: Carnival Sailing Date: September 5th, 2002 Judy Dench is one of my favourite actresses and so I was very happy that she was chosen as Carnival Legend’s Godmother. We travelled on the Legend’s second cruise: the Transatlantic Crossing from Harwich to New York on September 5 2002. This is the newest ship that we have cruised on and it was with great excitement that we read of her progress at Finland's Kvaerner-Masa

Yards. We looked at photographs of the ship posted at Kvaerner Masa Yards website and the ship looked beautiful. To give you a bit of background: I am 31 and my husband is 33. This is our third cruise. Our first cruise was in April 2000 when we sailed on Celebrity’s Mercury from Los Angeles, north to San Francisco, Seattle and onto Alaska ending in Vancouver. This was a very special cruise for us as it was our honeymoon. We found Celebrity’s food and service to be absolutely 5 Star. In November 2001, we sailed on the Norwegian Sun from Boston, south to Virginia, South Carolina and onto the Eastern Caribbean ending in Miami. The Sun was a beautiful ship and we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment and shows. After our cruise on the Sun, we found ourselves thinking: where to next? We decided that we so enjoyed having carefree, relaxing days at sea that a Transatlantic cruise would be perfect for us. The Legend presented the perfect package: a brand new ship on a cruise line we had not yet experienced and which included stops in Ireland, Scotland and Iceland – three places we really wanted to visit. The cabins on our previous two cruises have both been balcony cabins and we have found that the balcony is well worth the extra cost. Although the ships are all massive and we have never felt crowded, the balcony allows you a totally private moment to look out at the ocean and to experience the beauty and vastness and to savour it. We have also seen orcas and dolphins from our balcony which is truly awesome. If you would like the shortened version of this review, skip to the Summary at the end. Otherwise, it would be great to take you through our Transatlantic journey day by day. Embarkation: Thursday September 5th We boarded the ship in Harwich (England). We arrived at the port at about 1pm after a train transfer from London’s Liverpool Street Station. Embarkation was smooth and hassle-free. Well done Carnival! The staff were friendly and professional and we were on board the ship within half an hour. First on our agenda after boarding is to explore the ship. Carnival Legend is a lavishly decorated ship. Everyone wandering around seemed to be wide eyed trying to take it all in. The ship is glitzy, “Las Vegas” style, yet it has been tastefully done. There are paintings everywhere, crystal chandeliers and intricate glass vases abound. This is a holiday paradise – a floating world of its own. The Legend left on time and we stood right at the top deck, listening to the brass band and waving to the well wishers at Harwich. This is always the best time: the start of a cruise. After exploring the ship and doing a quick tour through the spa and gymnasium, we went back to our cabin and found our luggage had already arrived – very convenient! Our cabin (8233) was, as I have mentioned, a balcony cabin on the Panorama Deck. The cabin was adequately appointed and we found numerous complimentary products in the bathroom. Packing space was not abundant though for a two week cruise. Certainly you will need extra hangers than the six per person provided. We spent some time unpacking, had a shower and then went through to the dining room, Truffles to find our table. Truffles is a stunning dining room on two levels. Our table (no 314) was on the upper level. I have seen reports of the food arriving cold if you are on the upper level, but this never happened to us. We met our waiter (Andras from Hungary) and assistant waiter (Judit also from Hungary) and both were friendly and attentive. After dinner we went back to our cabin and read through our Carnival Capers (the daily newsletter) before going through to the Follies Theatre – the main show lounge on the Promenade Deck. You can reach Follies from Deck 2,3 or 4. A game of Bingo was in progress. Follies is beautiful and features state of the art sound and lighting. Just be careful where you sit – because of the large pillars some seats have obstructed views of the stage. After the Bingo we met our cruise director John Heald from England. We had an amusing evening meeting some of our fellow guests and it was a good way to start off the cruise entertainment. Most people seemed tired and we certainly were. The next morning we would be docking in Le Havre, France and we had already read about the port and surrounding areas to decide what we wanted to do. I would really recommend that you do some research on all new ports you are visiting because it adds to the enjoyment of your visit. Our first port: Le Havre, France, Friday September 6th We woke at 9am, had a good breakfast and we were ready to disembark at 10am. An information kiosk was set up by certain Le Havre tourism representatives close to the ship, and we found this very convenient and helpful. We had decided to visit the seaside village of Honfleur and found out that the first bus to Honfleur left at 1pm. We thus had the morning to explore Le Havre. A visit to the Musee Malraux was recommended. We both enjoy walking and did not take a taxi from the port into Le Havre. It does however take a good thirty minutes to walk so I would suggest taking a taxi if this is a bit much for you. The museum was very interesting (especially the older works from the 17th and 18th century). The museum also has some works by Monet. We visited Notre Dame Cathedral which is very old (16th Century) and was partially destroyed during the Second World War. Then we made our way to the bus station. Travelling on your own in France is a real challenge if you cannot speak French: it was quite a task to explain where we wanted to go to the bus station ticket salesperson. We established that the fare to Honfleur is 21 Euros return for two people, which is well worth the cost. Honfleur comes highly recommended by both of us. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit. It is picturesque and quaint and we enjoyed strolling through the cobbled streets and eating chocolat crepes at a charming French brasserie while watching the world passing by. You will also note that the water has many colourful small yachts and there are boat trips that you can take. Don’t miss browsing at the numerous small shops – many with a maritime theme. We spent most of the afternoon in Honfleur and then returned to Le Havre. A good hot shower and dinner was exactly what we needed. We met our fellow diners (Brandy and Chad) who come from New York and were on honeymoon. We had a good evening chatting to them and enjoying our meals before going through to Follies for the evening’s show. Once again, Bingo was being played. We don’t appreciate this since it is extremely boring for those who don’t enjoy it. The show itself was very good. First we had Jean Claude, a juggler from France. He juggles with his feet and has some good surprises. Second was Happy Cole, a comedian who got us laughing very quickly. We enjoyed his comedy. We returned to our cabin at about 12:15am. I would caution against taking a cabin on the Panorama deck (Deck 8) because, unless you are a heavy sleeper, you will hear the trolleys being pushed above and people walking above your cabin in the Unicorn Cafe when you are trying to sleep. Day at Sea and First Formal Evening: Saturday September 7th  The Captain’s welcome cocktail party took place on the third day of the cruise. Plenty of drinks and delicious snacks were provided, but we found ourselves waiting in vain for the captain. We were rather disappointed because the captain only delivered his welcome speech and introduced his main officers at Follies later that night. (On previous cruises, we have also appreciated the captain having his photo taken with every guest - all 2000. This did not happen). Nevertheless the captain, Claudio Cupisti was very professional in guiding us safely across the North Atlantic. There seemed to be numerous guests worried about the Legend meeting her end in the same way as the Titanic. This was heightened by the fact that our next port (Cobh) was the last port the Titanic visited before her unfortunate end. We had a good evening and met a wonderful couple from Seattle, Paul and Rachel, who we really enjoyed speaking with. Dinner was delicious and I would suggest that you try the Flourless Chocolate cake when you see it on the menu – it is divine! The show “Take Two” at Follies was well presented with good special effects. Cobh, (Cork) Ireland: Sunday September 8th  The next day we arrived in Cobh (pronounced “Cove”), Ireland. We caught the shuttle provided at the port (for 10 Euros return) into Cork and from there caught the bus to Blarney. This is a very easy trip to do and you will save yourself 25 Euros per person rather than taking the shore excursion. It takes fifteen minutes from the port to Cork and another fifteen minutes from Cork to Blarney. Buses are frequent and we were told that they actually increase the number of buses if a large ship is in port. The weather was cloudy, but warm and we set off for Blarney Castle to join the queue waiting to kiss the Blarney stone. It is said that you will receive the gift of eloquence once you have kissed the stone! It is however, not so easy to reach the stone since you have to climb up a narrow winding staircase to the top of the castle. You then have a short walk to the stone and you then need to lay on your back (over a narrow drop) and angle your head right back to kiss the stone. You will be assisted. All this took about thirty minutes; it was good fun though and the view from the top of the castle is striking. The gardens around Blarney Castle are lush with beautiful indigenous flowers and we enjoyed a short stroll there before moving on to Blarney Woollen Mills, This shop is a “must see” if you are looking for Irish curios – it has souvenirs to suit every taste. We bought sandwiches and snacks at a nearby shop and ate this “picnic style” in the main park area which was very special. Before returning to Cork, we went to a pub to sample the local beer. We spent some time in Cork walking along St Patrick Street which was surprisingly busy for a rainy Sunday afternoon. All in all a most enjoyable day in Ireland. We caught the shuttle bus back to the ship and fortunately, our Irish experience was not yet over. Dinner was excellent and we highly recommend the tiger prawns and the pecan pie. The cruise director, John had arranged for a local Irish group to come on board to perform the evening shows in the Follies lounge. The group (The Irish Weavers) also brought along some young Irish dancers. We saw the most wonderful Irish show complete with traditional music and dance that was thoroughly enjoyed by all. What an awesome experience for those young dancers to perform on board this amazing ship. After a long and busy day, we couldn’t resist to sneak a peak at the late night buffet and indulge in a slice of strawberry cheesecake. Shortly after the show, the ship left Cobh for Greenock. It was really special to stand on the deck and experience the warmth of the Irish people as they bid us Bon Voyage. All along the way out of the port, people were waving and cheering and letting off fireworks. Thank-you to the people of Cobh, Cork and Blarney for all your hospitality. Day at Sea: Monday September 9th We slept late and ordered room service breakfast which was prompt and efficient. We then went to the gym. After a good Chinese lunch, we whiled away the afternoon on our balcony catching up on some reading. We also attempted to do some laundry (a definite requirement on a long cruise like this) but everyone else had the same idea! It was just fantastic to be at sea: stress-free and relaxed. We knew that we had a busy day in Scotland up ahead and so we took a quick walk through the midnight buffet at the Unicorn Café and then went to bed. Greenock (Glasgow), Scotland: Tuesday September 10th After a good breakfast (you really must try the omelettes and watch how skilfully they are prepared), we disembarked. Scottish representatives were available at the port to assist with information on the area and they were wonderfully friendly. We walked to Greenock station and took the train to Glasgow. The return fare to Glasgow is £6.30. It takes about fifteen minutes to walk to the station from where the ship docks and the train journey to Glasgow takes about forty-five minutes. Glasgow central station (where you will arrive by train) is conveniently situated close to George Square which is the city’s centre. The city itself is very old and the buildings surrounding the square are very impressive. The city of Glasgow built its wealth in the 18th century and in the 19th century the port of Glasgow was the world’s leading manufacturer of ships. Glasgow is also a shopping mecca. You could spend hours and hours looking at the shops lining the streets or at either St Enoch’s shopping centre or Prince’s Square shopping centre. Our visit to Glasgow could not be that long since we had to return to the ship to take part in our shore excursion of the Panoramic Scottish Lochs. We thus returned to the ship by 1pm and ate a quick lunch. The tour left at 1:45pm, and our tour guide, Regina, was excellent. She offered all sorts of fascinating information about Scotland; telling us also about famous people like William Wallis, Mary Queen of Scots and Robert Burns to name but a few. We first made our way to the biggest loch in Great Britain: Loch Lomond. This is a freshwater loch and we spent almost an hour here, taking photographs and strolling around the town of Luss. Luss is quaint and attractive with small old houses, beautiful gardens and both gift shops and coffee shops dotted along its paths. The trip then took us through spectacular scenery as we drove on to the viewpoint of “Rest and Be Thankful”. The lush greenery is something difficult to describe but the beauty of the area has ensured that we will one day return. This is another advantage of cruising: you get to sample so much and decide for yourself where you would like to indulge longer. Regina told us that glen means valley and that loch means lake and we carried along past beautiful glens and three more lochs (all saltwater: Loch Long, Loch Fyne and Loch Eck). The bus then travelled into Hunter’s Quay – the terminal of Western Ferries – for a twenty minute crossing of the Firth of Clyde. After the crossing we passed through the lovely seaside village of Gourock (on the west side of Greenock) before arriving at the ship. At this stage it was almost 7pm and time to shower and change for dinner. In the dining room, we had our Maitre d’ Ken Byrne singing Auld Lang Syne and had the traditional “Piping of the Haggis”. Haggis is made of sheeps’ intestines which are then minced and spiced and boiled in the lining of the stomach. Needless to say, none of our table were keen to sample it! A Scottish piper moved around the dining room in front of the chef who was holding the haggis on a platter. It was very festive. John Heald had organised “Music Scotland” to be on board the ship and they were excellent. Not only was there traditional Scottish singing and dancing but also a violinist who was superb. What a wonderful evening. And it was not yet over because the pipers, after leaving the ship, carried on playing as the ship departed. We stood on our balcony (and later on the deck) and waved to all the well-wishers as we listened to the music. They also played the Scottish national anthem (O Flower of Scotland). Best of all was all the people of Greenock and the surrounding areas who came to bid the ship farewell. It was just incredible: hundreds of cars parked in the streets with people shouting, waving and taking photographs. It was truly special and an experience like this is one that you cannot fittingly convey in words. This kind of “Bon Voyage” is quite rare today because the people who live near most ports are so used to seeing cruise ships and large numbers of tourists and so this is nothing new to them. But going to ports like Greenock and Cork are cruising in the very traditional sense of the word: first of all you will find that you can experience the city without thousands of other ship’s passengers making it crowded and secondly you receive the most amazing welcome and “Bon Voyage” that is just impossible to describe. Bearing in mind that this enthusiasm went on from 11pm when the ship departed until 11:45 when the ship was already far out from the port. Thank-you Scotland, or as some of the passengers were shouting: “We love you Scotland!” Days at sea: Wednesday September 11th and Thursday September 12th  An excerpt from my diary. Today is a day at sea, 16C and very calm. We have had such calm seas – we are very lucky. Of course this is the first anniversary of September 11th and there has been a Memorial Service in the Follies lounge. The message of John Heald has been that we will remember those that died, but we will not let the events stop us from moving on and enjoying life to the full. Days at sea:  We find that these are the days when we can truly relax, catch up on sleep and totally rejuvenate ourselves. One of the best places to do this is at the Fountain of Youth spa and gym located forward on Decks 9 and 10. The spa is 14,500 square feet and really has state of the art equipment. My husband spent many hours there and I visited a few times as well. They have wonderful massages and other treatments at the spa. Just remember to book your appointment at the Helen of Troy hair salon early for formal evenings – it really gets busy. There are numerous activities arranged by John Heald and his staff like games and quiz shows, ice carving demonstrations, galley tours, cooking demonstrations and the list goes on... Don’t miss John’s morning show with Ralph which is screened on Channel 22 and really is good fun. If you do miss it in the morning, tune in later because it is repeated in the afternoon. Although the library is small (a large portion is taken up by the Internet Café), you will find some good novels. And now to mention our cabin attendant: Ramiro (from Colombia) always kept our room looking spotless and was always only too happy to assist us with any request. With his friendly smile and the cute towel animals he makes which he will then leave in your cabin, you can’t go wrong with Ramiro. Reykjavik, Iceland: Friday September 13th We did not book any of the ship’s shore excursions. Instead, we had done some research on the Internet and arranged a tour with a company called Reykjavik Excursions. It was great because we had a small group of twelve people in total and Reykjavik Excursions came and fetched us right from the port at 8am. Oushka, our guide, was fantastic – a wealth of information on life in this fascinating country as well as its natural wonders. Many villages in Iceland are built over hot springs which provide heat for both homes and greenhouses. Water and electricity are the only two commodities that are cheap in Iceland; everything else is very expensive. Our first stop was at a greenhouse in Hveragerdi called “Eden”. Here you will find a large souvenir shop as well as a nursery and restaurant. We then drove on to Kerid which is an extinct volcanic crater that is now a lake. The countryside was very green, but Oushka told us that it was because rain had fallen the day before. The rain causes the moss on the ancient lava fields to look green. Otherwise, if there is no rain, the moss takes on a grey hue. We carried on to the first of two waterfalls and then to Gullfoss the “Golden Waterfall”. It really is very impressive and beautiful. The busdriver dropped us off at the upper viewing level (where there is another souvenir shop) and left us thirty minutes to enjoy the scenery before collecting us at the lower level. You walk one hundred and five steps to the lower level and here you will hear the absolute might of the waterfall. Gullfoss is the most famous of Iceland’s waterfalls. On our way to Geysir (pronounced “Gaysir”), Oushka continued to tell us all sorts of interesting information on Iceland. The population is only 287,000 people. Most Icelanders have at least two jobs. In summer they have only three hours of darkness (21 June) and in winter barely four hours of light (21 December). Iceland only gained independence from Denmark in 1944. At Geysir, Oushka walked us around some of the many hot springs which are constantly bubbling and boiling. In some places there is a strong odour of sulphur. You can put your hand into some of the springs, but be careful because some are extremely hot. You will stand in awe and amazement to see the active geysir Stokkur spout. This happens about every five minutes, sometimes three times in a row and never the same height. It boils quite ferociously, yet you will still be stunned the first time you see the magnificent jet of water and the intense steam it leaves behind. This has got to be the highlight of the day. We found out just how expensive food is in Iceland when we each had a hamburger, fries and a drink and it cost a total of $22! The Icelandic beer was really good and very refreshing. I must say that the weather was so good to us; it was actually quite hot. The bus carried on through scenic mountains for about another hour and then we arrived at Thingrallir National Park. It is very peaceful and pretty here with blueberry bushes abounding. We had the option of ending our trip in Reykjavik city instead of back at the ship and grabbed the opportunity. We had seen such beautiful photographs of the city with its many coloured buildings and wanted to see it for ourselves. We went to the HallgrimsKirkja and took the lift to the top for a fantastic viewpoint over Reykjavik. What a lovely city: small, neat, clean and so colourful! We strongly suggest you take a taxi back to the ship as opposed to walking back since it will take about eighty minutes to walk. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Iceland and if Oushka should ever read this: Thank-you Oushka – we appreciated doing the tour with you and hearing about your fascinating country. Days at sea: Saturday September 14th, Sunday September 15th and Monday September 16th  After a busy day in Iceland it was great to have three full days at sea. It seems like a long time, and yes we did have the chance to relax; but three days go awfully quickly when you are having so much fun and enjoying your holiday so much. I will use this opportunity to discuss the following: Photographs You will find photographers located on Deck 2 most evenings to take portrait photographs. There are also plenty of “fun” photographs taken all over the ship and also when you disembark at the various ports. We found them to be professional and you can view the photographs on Deck 3 midship.  There is also various video tapings done of the daily activities and these videos can also be purchased. Camp Carnival There were very few children on this Transatlantic cruise. We did note some Camp Counsellors on board and they provide supervised activities for children age two to fifteen on a complimentary basis. Club Merlin Casino We are not gamblers and so we only went to the casino when we needed to walk through to get to the Follies lounge. The casino is very big and always seemed to be attracting plenty of people but that’s the only comment I can offer. Legend Shops: Rodeo Drive The shops offer (amongst other items), a wide variety of Carnival Legend clothing, mugs, magnets etc. They also run the usual specials like promotions on watches/rings. Live music There are a number of bands on board the Legend in the various lounges. Our favourite performers were the Allegro Trio (pianist, cellist and harpist) located in the Collosus   Lobby on Deck 2. Order yourself a cocktail and listen to their beautiful, serene classical music. St John’s Newfoundland: Monday night September 16th and Tuesday September 17th  We were only supposed to arrive in St John’s on the morning of Tuesday 17th September. However, there was a medical emergency on board the ship: a gentleman had a heart attack on the Saturday afternoon. Captain Cupisti sailed at full speed and we arrived in St John’s on Monday 16th at about 10pm. The first thing that happened was that they got this passenger off the ship and straight into an ambulance. He seemed to be okay because he was waving to everyone on the deck. We since heard that he was doing well in hospital. The people of St John’s gave the ship a warm welcome (even at this late hour) and it was great to be out on the deck. We had booked a shore excursion called the “Bay Bulls Nature Cruise” which we were very excited about. The tour consisted of going through to the village of Bay Bulls and then boarding a Catamaran for a tour of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve which is the home of tens of thousands of seabirds including puffins. Since we had never seen a puffin before we thought this would be a great tour. Our guide was friendly and informative about life in Newfoundland and we reached Bay Bulls after a half hour drive. We boarded the Catamaran and found that you can really get seasick on it – it really rocked around! Unfortunately we were in for disappointment because most of the seabirds had already left the islands in the reserve. We saw about twelve puffins and were then informed that the puffin season is June, July and August. We felt that this was not at all honest since they should have been upfront and informed us that the puffin season was over – we would then never have taken the tour. We did however have a brief sighting of a whale (but saw more from the ship anyway). As a matter of interest Carnival did refund us 25% of the tour cost, but we still feel that they should not offer tour excursions that do not fulfill what is described. Where possible do your own research and make your own arrangements. We prefer making our own arrangements and it really is far more enjoyable. After a disappointing morning, we went into downtown St John’s to walk around the main streets: Water Street and Duckworth Street. Most of the souvenir shops are in Water Street. Be sure to take a photograph of the war memorial in Duckworth Street since it is a really good photo opportunity. Most of the pubs are in George Street. Visit “Trapper John’s” and take part in the “Screech-in” ceremony – it is a lot of fun. Screech is rum and you will drink a shot of rum, repeat some phrases in “Newfinease” and kiss a puffin (find out where). You will then be knighted and receive a certificate which certifies you an honorary Newfoundlander. The ship was leaving at 6pm so we returned at about 5:20pm (the town of St John’s is within easy walking distance). We once again had an amazing Bon Voyage from the local people. You will think that I am exaggerating, but we have photographs that show the people were waving from the streets, from their houses and the buildings and this carried on way out as the ship sailed past the hills; many people were standing and waving from the hilltops. Other ships were blowing their horns and it is something I will never forget. My arms were tired from waving so long. St John’s is known as the City of Legends: Goodbye to the City of Legends from two passengers aboard Carnival Legend. Days at sea: Wednesday September 18th and Thursday September 19th. We used these two days to just relax and we really thought that we would feel ready to disembark in New York. However this was far from the case and there was a feeling of melancholy on board: passengers felt sad to be leaving their “home”. On a cruise this long the people on board become more than just passing strangers and it is hard to say your good-byes. The only thought that makes you feel better is the opportunity of planning your next cruise. New York: Friday September 20th Arriving in New York was special because the ship cruised in early (5am) and it was still dark. The Statue of Liberty and the city of New York was lit up and looked spectacular and peaceful. A more appropriate first port of call in America for Carnival Legend would not be possible: New York a grand and awesome city and Carnival Legend a grand and awesome ship. Enjoy your brand new start in New York and may you carry many more happy passengers. In Summary: Let me start with the bad points because they are far outweighed by all the good points and this cruise deserves heaps of praise for ports visited, delicious food and wonderful crew. The “Not so Good” 1. The first problem you will find is that there is a shortage of hangers so bring some of your own. Six hangers provided per person is definitely not enough. Perhaps this has now been rectified. 2. I would caution against taking a cabin on Deck 8 below the Unicorn Café because there is plenty of overhead noise. 3. There is no observation lounge on board the Legend. On previous ships there have been lounges located high up on the ship with plenty of glass that gives you a panoramic view of the ocean. This we missed on the Legend. 4. The water is heavily chlorinated and very unpleasant to drink. Put plenty of ice in it to make it slightly palatable. It is preferable to buy bottled water, but I really think Carnival should provide water purifiers for drinking water. Plus Points 1. I have to say this first: the desserts and cakes on board Carnival Legend have got to be the absolute best. You will go a long way to beat them. Whether you are sampling them at the Unicorn Café or at Truffles restaurant, they are fabulous. 2. The variety and amount of shellfish is excellent. If you are a shellfish lover, you will be spoilt for choice on the Legend. You will get to taste everything from tiger prawns to lobster to snow crab. 3. The Unicorn Café is a wonderful buffet restaurant and we loved the layout. There are different foods at different stations wherever you look and you never get bored (even on a fifteen day cruise). 4. Well done to John Heald the cruise director for his great ideas (like bringing onboard Scottish and Irish groups at the respective ports) and for creating a wonderful atmosphere on the Legend. Thanks also to Ralph (one of his assistants) for always making us laugh and for the morning shows with John – they are VERY amusing! 5. The service by the crew was top class and the only time we had a problem was with shore excursion staff who had a “nose in the air” attitude. We can only heap praise on diningroom staff (particularly Andras and Judit and Nancy and Sona). Our cabin attendant, Ramiro was excellent. 6. Maitre d’ Ken Byrne has got to be the best Maitre d’ at sea. He always has surprises in store in the Truffles restaurant and sings beautifully (just like Frank Sinatra). 7. The Golden Fleece restaurant is an absolute must. This is a reservations only restaurant (located on Deck 9 midship) and has a cover charge of $25 per person. This is well worth it because you will truly have an evening to remember. Ask for a table by the window and remember that this venue is suited to a romantic evening so don’t go in a group. You can have a very leisurely evening taking to the dance floor in between the different delicious meals that are served to you. We highly recommend the shrimp cocktail, stone crabs and crème brulee. 8. Lastly: if you are booked on a Carnival Legend cruise you are in for a wonderful time. Look forward to your holiday and when you board the ship, savour every moment because holidays have that nasty habit of passing by so quickly!

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