May 2014 - Carnival Legend to Caribbean - Western
This was our second cruise, first with Carnival. After previously sailing with Royal Caribbean, we had pretty high expectations. Boarding was excellent, we breezed through and were on board within 20-30 minutes. We chose to arrive around 11:30 dispute receiving an email from Carnival saying not to arrive before 1:00 in order to prevent a long wait time, which was rather strange.
Our first impression of the Legend was a little low. We had read that they had just undergo a pretty large renovation, which apparently meant that they just put a new thick coat of lacquer on everything, because it had a strong resemblance to an early 90s era Las Vegas hotel and casino. Everything was incredibly dark and gaudy, from the main lobby and atrium to the restaurants and especially the bars and lounges. That being said, the outdoor areas were very nice, especially the upgraded Serenity pool deck for adults.
Our use room was nice and comfortable, however we were very disappointed to have been put in an obstructed view balcony. The balcony looked over the top of a rather large lifeboat, which made an appearance in every picture we took from the balcony. That's what you risk though in booking a guarantee rate instead of a chosen room. However, you could still see plenty, so we made the best of it and did enjoy our stay. The bathroom was a far cry better than the bathroom on the Royal Caribbean ship we had been on previously. It's much easier to shower in a tiny shower with a curtain, rather than a tiny shower with a fixed fiberglass door!
i will say the food on Carnival was very good and pretty comparable to our previous experience. The main dining room was excellent and the servers were great. There was a greater variety of good available throughout the day, than on Royal, however don't expect to find anything more than coffee if you get up at 5-6 to watch the sunrise...
Overall the ports were great. We had stops in Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan and Grand Cayman. Cozumel was beautiful. We took the Island Living history tour, which was a nice air conditioned way to see the island. El Mirador, one of the stops, was breathtaking. Belize City was a little disappointing. The port area is nice enough, with all of the shops (the same you see at every other port) and a few craft stalls, but I don't recommend going beyond the gates. As soon as we stepped out of the gates port area, we were harnessed by every local with a car/bike/horse offering tours and other things. Mahogany Bay in Roatan was excellent, as was Grand Cayman.
The entertainment options offered on Carnival were fine. Shows most nights based around musical eras/genres were in the main theater, and they had comedians most nights in one of the lounges. The shows were fine, but not the variety or quality of the shows offered by Royal, which were almost Broadway level productions.
The crew members that we met on our trip were very pleasant. Our cabin steward was very nice, as we're our servers in the dining room. However, there was nothing memorable about our experience. One of the most impressive things about our Royal cruise, was that a spa attendant we met on the first day, remembered us by name on the third day, even though we only spent about 15 minutes as a part of a tour. Also, the Royal cruise director and his staff, would take the time to stop and chat with passengers, whereas the Carnival director always acted as if he were in too much of a hurry.
Overall, we enjoyed our cruise on the Carnival Legend. It was a much smaller ship than we had been on previously, which was nice. Many times, we would walk around on some of the upper decks and not see a single other person, which is amazing (and a little eery at night). It is a very nice, budget cruise line , however, I preferred the friendly, airy, spa-like atmosphere of Royal Caribbean.