November 2013 - Carnival Legend to Caribbean - Western
If the Carnival Legend is striving for mediocrity, they are close to their goal. Like nearly all cruise ships, the cabin was always clean and well maintained, most of the shows were very good, and there was a good variety of things to do onboard. Although the dining room service was very good, the food left a lot to be desired. We have many examples of poorly prepared, unpalatable or disgusting food. Chateaubriand far too raw to eat (supposedly Medium Rare) was taken back to the kitchen and switched for some so overly cooked (well well done, supposedly Medium Well) that it could barely be cut with a steak knife, much less eaten; cheesecake unrecognizable as cheesecake; really, really bad escargots; otherwise great prime rib that came from the kitchen barely warm and got cold before it was half eaten are but a few examples.
Conversely, lunch in the dining room and the sea day brunch were very good, perhaps because of the smaller crowd and the ability of the kitchen to concentrate on fewer meals and smaller batches. Lunch in the buffet was usually pretty good, with Asian and Mexican lines, a salad bar and deli (sandwiches) as well as the standard buffet items. We weren't impressed by the desserts in the buffet, however. We never ate supper in the buffet, preferring to eat with friends in the dining room.
The casino constantly reeked of cigarette smoke. The few times we tried to sit down and enjoy throwing some money away, a chain smoker would come and sit down right next to us. That would be it for us. Exit, Stage Right. The problem didn't stop when we left the casino, though. To get from the dining room in the stern to the showroom in the bow, you were forced to walk through the casino. Since it was too large to hold your breath while transiting the space, we learned to go up one or two decks before we would walk forward, thereby avoiding the smoky casino. Too bad; we would have enjoyed spending more time (and, of course, money) there.
We find that normally on cruises, our cabin steward introduces himself and requests that should we need anything at all to please contact him. Not here. We knew his name from the little name tag inside our cabin door, but if we hadn't searched him out with a special request or two, we would never have met him. That's the way it seemed to be throughout the ship. Very impersonal. Lots of people doing their jobs, but it seemed to us that they were just going through the motions, not really into their work or enjoying their jobs. We didn't get the impression anywhere that they were there to serve us as the passenger/customer. They all gave us the impression that they couldn't wait until they got off shift.
To us, the Legend seemed to have set a standard of mediocrity everywhere we looked. I'd say that the running of the ship itself (the bridge) can't be faulted in any way. Likewise, the Entertainment division (Cruise Director and staff) was dedicated to making sure we had plenty to do and had a great time doing it. But the Hotel and Dining divisions were a different story. We didn't expect excellence (this is Carnival, not Celebrity), yet we were still disappointed in our experience. I would rate this cruise as average (2-1/2 stars) because even with its many shortcomings, a cruise is a cruise. Any day spent cruising is better than a day at work. But for only a nickel more on the dollar on another cruise line, we felt we could have had a much more enjoyable week.