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Carnival Legend

Author: Lori Steelman
Date of Trip: July 2012

Our 7 night cruise on the Legend left on Sunday, July 1, 2012, from Tampa. My daughter, 9, and I went with my sister, brother in law, and 2 nephews 12 & 8. This was mine and my daughter’s first time on Carnival-with 3 previous cruises on Royal Caribbean. We left on Friday to get an early start on our vacation. We live in Middle Georgia and drove to Tampa.

Pre-Cruise-Tampa

We got to Tampa around 9:30 Friday evening and checked into the Best Western Bay Harbor Hotel. We got two rooms next to each other. We had a very nice view of the harbor. When we got there, they told us that the pool was closed but, since there were other people still swimming, we let the kids swim for a while. They love night swimming and so do I!

The next morning, I was the first one up-of course. I went searching for something to eat-anything-because I was starving. Nothing. Not even a convenience store within walking distance. There is a restaurant attached to the hotel called Crabby Bill’s that serves breakfast, but I didn’t know that at the time. Oh well. My sister and daughter woke up when I returned and we drove to Publix and got some pastries, juice, wine, flip flops, etc…. It was a little drive and we got a little lost. When we finally returned to the hotel, the others were awake and we got ready and headed to the pool. When we booked the hotel, the pictures of showed a small beach area in front of it. Small is the key word here. There was no beach at high tide and even at low tide, very little beach. That was okay though..the pool was very nice and had bartenders/waiters which made it even better! We ordered lunch from Crabby Bill’s-pizza for the kids and they were HUGE. They could have shared one, but we ordered three not knowing how big they were. We ordered beef nacho’s and chicken nacho’s for the adults. Holy moly-again they were huge! They brought it all to the pool with our cocktails. We had a great, full day at the pool.

Later on, we got ready for dinner and went for a very short walk on the tiny beach while we waited on our table at Crabby Bill’s (the only restaurant that we didn’t have to drive to). We watched the wave runners for a while and took some pictures. We were on the wait list for about an hour before we were seated. It then took another 20 minutes to get our drinks and another hour after that to get our appetizers. I must say that the difference between day and night service at Crabby Bill’s is just that. Finally, after waiting a little over 2 hours for our entrees, we left. No apologies, but we did get the drinks and appetizers comped. And we did get to see a very nice sunset over Tampa.

The kids were still hungry, so we decided to let them swim and we ordered Domino’s pizza by the pool, so they were very happy. They swam for about an hour and then we were off to bed! Busy day tomorrow!

Day 1-Tampa

I woke up early again Sunday morning-DEPARTURE DAY-WHOO-HOO!-around 6:30. Everyone else woke up shortly after that, excited! We had leftover pastries, packed the van and headed for the port. It took about 15 minutes to get there from the hotel. Everyone was very happy to see the Legend waiting on us. We got to the Port of Tampa around 10:30 and it took about 10 minutes to get our Sail & Sign cards. We had a seat for a few minutes and boarded at 11:30. I like to get there as early as possible to enjoy the ship as long as possible.

All I can say is WOW…she is a beautiful ship! Lots of urns everywhere, but still she is beautiful!
My BF saw the picture of the elevators and said that it looked like something out of Harry Potter.
First things first….the DOD!! My sister and I had our first one shortly after we boarded. It was a frozen Kiss on the Lips and it was fabulous! The DJ was playing tunes and the drinks were icy cold. Yay!
We brought our masks to go snorkeling, but forgot the snorkels. Luckily, they were selling them at Guest Services for $5.00, so we went ahead and purchased them while we were down there. Then it was time for lunch on the Lido. Our carry-ons in hand, we went to the Lido Deck for the buffet. MMMMMM tasty! The kids got chicken tenders and burgers from the grill and the adults got a variety. All very good.

Our cabins were ready about 1:00, so we went our separate ways to unpack and get ready for the pool. My sister and her family had a balcony cabin on the Panorama Deck (8) and A and I had a inside cabin on the Empress Deck. I booked us a handicapped cabin (6102)…not on purpose!! The web site didn’t distinguish between regular cabins and handicapped and when I realized this, I called Carnival and told the woman what happened-because I didn’t want to take a handicapped cabin from someone who needed it. She said that it was fine, that if they needed the cabin, they would move us to another. They didn’t need it. It was HUGE. Much larger than our previous staterooms on RCCL. Our Stateroom Attendant was Andar Silalhi and he was the best Steward ever! I asked him for ice one time and our bucket was filled from that time on. He took very good care of us. I tried to go ahead and give him his extra tip, but he said “No, Ms. L___, please wait until the end of your cruise”-which I did.

After unpacking, we went to the pool. Even though the pools are sort of small, there is about a 3 foot area around the pool where you can wade in the water or sit and have some cocktails. That was nice. We got chairs right in front of the hot tub and pool. I only got in the hot tub once on the cruise..there were a whole lot of kids in it most of the time, including ours. The kids liked it because it wasn’t salt water. I would have liked to have heard the Calypso Band on deck, but the DJ wasn’t bad at all. My daughter really liked him!

We were called to the muster drill around 3:00, so we went our separate ways and met back by the pool afterwards. We stayed at the pool for a couple more hours and then went to the Sports Deck to watch the Legend go under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which I was really looking forward to! It did not disappoint!

We had Your Time Dining, so after the bridge we went and took showers and got ready for dinner. On the way back to the room, we passed a very drunk chick in stilletos and a skirt that barely covered her downstairs stumbling down the hallway. She almost slammed into my daughter and then got bitchy because she said we were in her way. I let it slide. We saw her later in the MDR screaming and snatching her approx. 3 year old daughter. We saw her a lot and several times she was all over the poor little girl.

Dinner this night was very good! We all enjoyed everything. I then took the kids back to my cabin so that my sister and her husband could go an donate a chunk of change to the casino. The kids and I watched Pirates of the Caribbean on our portable DVD player. A great first day!!

Day 2-Fun Day At Sea

Up at 6:45-and I was the only one. I went for my walk around the ship and enjoyed the beautiful view…there is not much better than sunrise on a ship! I took a bunch of pictures and then went back to wake up A. We got to breakfast around 8..delicious again, and then met my sister at the pool about 8:45. She ordered us a DOD-a Miami Vice. Early, yes, but quite tasty even at 9:30 a.m. I stayed at the pool until about 3:30 and then went for a short nap and A stayed with my sister. I picked her up from their cabin about 5:00 and we explored the ship some more. She loved the Enchanted Forest. We had to take many, many pictures in there with many poses. Haha.. We found the game room near there too.

It was formal night in the MDR. We got there around 7:00 and only had to wait about 20 minutes. We were looking forward to the lobster! Our waiter this night was a real jerk. His name was Young and he had a serious attitude problem. When he finally got to the table, his greeting was “What do you want?” Nice. Standing there tapping his foot and rolling his eyes while we ordered. We never got to order anything from the bar. I asked Young if he would ask the person who takes the drink orders to come to our table. I guess this ticked him off even more than having to do his job and take our order. I finally went with the kids to the bar to get their cokes and my cocktail. This kind of ruined the dinner for me and made me not want to return to the MDR-and we didn’t for two nights. I don’t think that I will do Your Time Dining after this trip. I like having the same waiters every night. Other than this person, all of the crew on the ship were very nice and helpful.

After dinner, we went to the 9:00 showing of “Jazz Hot”. We took a bottle of champagne. We all enjoyed it, except for my 8 y.o. nephew. He was snoozing by the time it was over. Tuesday was going to be busy! We had a dolphin swim and lunch booked at Dolphinaris in Cozumel. Yay!

Day 3-Cozumel

Woke up early, packed our backpacks and met my sister on the Lido for some omelets and waffles. I never had to wait for an omelet and they were very good! Didn’t touch the powdered eggs. Yuck. After breakfast, we went to the Firebird Lounge to disembark. We got there about 8:30 and was off of the ship about 8:50. We met our group from Dolphinaris at the end of the pier and from there we walked a little way to meet the taxi to take us to the swim. It took about 10-15 minutes to get there. We had a short orientation and then were in the water with our dolphins and trainer about 10:45. There were ten of us in our group. They didn’t allow cameras at the lagoons. If you are traveling with someone who isn’t doing the swim, I would get them to stand on the patio and take pictures. The prices for their pictures were high. Three for $79USD.
We each got a turn to kiss the dolphin, dance with her and ride her. It was awesome! The kids absolutely loved it! We were in the water about 50 minutes with them. After the swim, we got changed and went to lunch. The lunch patio was right above the lagoon, so we got to watch others while we ate. It was gorgeous there! The water is soooo blue. Lunch was very good too. The adults and one nephew got fajitas and the other two got chicken tenders and fries-this was included. We also ordered some margaritas and chips and salsa (these were extra) and the salsa was the hottest EVER.

When we were done eating, we walked down the road to Margaritaville. My sister loves all things Jimmy Buffet, so we decided to stay. They have a great deck in the back on the ocean. There are all sorts of water toys-trampoline, climbing mountain, etc…-that you can play on. The water is incredible there. You get into the water by jumping off of the deck-maybe an 8 foot drop into the water. The water there is about 13 feet deep. They have life vests for anyone who needs them. The only charge for this is that they ask for a tip. This was so much fun! We ordered drinks and nacho’s (surprise!) even though we had just eaten. It was a huge mountain of nacho’s that were hardly touched. But they were good!! We got some free tickets for blue margaritas, which were used by me and my brother in law. My sister doesn’t drink tequila.

When we left there, we went across the street to the supermarket to get a few things. I needed a pair of flip flops because my Teva’s were killing my feet. They had some cheap looking dollar store flip flops right when we went in, so I picked out some and went to pay. She said $32.00. I said pesos???? Nope…USD. Bwahaha. Goodbye.

Got some chips and sodas to take back on the ship and headed back to the port. On the way, we stopped and got A’s hair braided. She only got 3 braids this time. She said that next time she wanted her whole head done. She looked very cute!

Got back on the ship and went to shower and get ready for sail away. A and I watched a few pier fast walkers, but saw no actual runners. Glad no one missed the ship! The Paradise was at the pier next to us. We left first. I really enjoyed Cozumel and wish that we had more time there. Stopped by Guest Services with the kids and got free decks of Carnival playing cards. Nice!

We went and got a little appetizer from the Lido and then took the kids to the game room for a while. After this, A and I went back to the cabin and ordered room service-peanut butter and jelly and a grilled cheese and watched a movie. Worn out!

Day 4-Belize

I have never spent Independence Day out of the country. It was fun! We met my sister for breakfast and then on to the Firebird to wait for the tenders to take us into Belize. We booked a cave tubing excursion on our own through cavetubing.bz. The tender took about 20 minutes to get us there. We went outside of the port to meet our guide. There were vendors there and they were a little pushy, but nothing like I have read. Very little eye contact and a stern “No thank you” worked for me. I didn’t feel threatened at all. Our driver and guide were there and they took us to a van..and thank goodness it was air conditioned!! We were the only ones in the van..yay again. It took about an hour to get to the place where we would start our adventure through the rain forest. We passed the mountains where the Mosquito Coast was filmed. That was pretty cool. The checkpoints with the armed guards was……different. Our driver’s name was Michael and he was very nice and informative.
When we got there, we got to leave all of our stuff in the van. I only took my waterproof camera. We got changed and they gave us tubes and helmets with lights and we were on our way. Our river guide was named Lionel. A stayed very close to Lionel the entire hike and he carried her tube the whole way. He was also very informative and nice. The hike through the rain forest was lovely! It took about an hour to get to the point where we got into the river to go through the caves. The caves were just incredible! A wonderful experience that I am very glad I got to do with my baby girl!

Going through the caves down the river took about an hour and a half. My sister brought her expensive waterproof camera along on the trip. I took a cheap Fuji Film one. Mine is the only one that made it back. She dropped theirs in the river somewhere at the end of our journey. She was heartbroken! Lionel went back after we left to try and find it, but we never heard anything back. She bought another waterproof camera when we got back to the ship.

Our driver Michael then took us to where we would eat our lunch. It was a little house/store/restaurant on the side of the never ever been paved road. It was a bit bumpy. We all sat down and they immediately brought our lunch out. The kids looked at it and made these awful faces. It didn’t look too bad to me. It was chicken, rice and beans. It wasn’t bad at all, but my brother in law and I are the only ones who ate. The others just turned their noses up. They did drink the ice-cold bottled sprite though. The adults got some tasty rum punch with our lunch and then they refilled our cups before we left. They also let us try some cashew wine. I loved it! My sister bought three bottles and gave me one to take home. Thanks!!

I was nervous about this excursion because it wasn’t through Carnival. We made it back to the ship JUST in time. That was a little scary. I sure didn’t have the money to fly to Honduras to meet the ship the next day. Whew…glad we made it!

We ate on the Lido Deck that night for dinner and went back to our cabins afterward. We didn’t have much of a night life on the cruise. We get up way too early. I did try and get into Medusa’s Lair to take some pictures, but it was never open that early. What can I say, I am a lightweight and can’t stay up late!

Day 5-Isla Roatan, Honduras

Up early again for my walk around the ship. Love early mornings! After breakfast, we all got off of the ship in Roatan and went to meet our tour guide for the day. We booked a tour with Victor Bodden tours. Our guide for the day was Kenny. We loved Kenny. He took us wherever we wanted to go. We went all over. If we needed to stop at a store, no problem.

My sister is an elementary school principal and we decided beforehand that we wanted to go and see a school there. We made plans with VB to do this and she brought a bunch of school supplies for the kids. When we got there, we found out that the doctors and teachers were on strike because the government didn’t pay them, so the public schools were closed. There were private schools open, but Kenny told us that the public schools needed the supplies much more than the private ones. We had four backpacks filled with stuff, so Kenny said that he would take them to his daughter’s school when they re-opened.

We had also booked a snorkeling excursion. Kenny took us to Bananarama where we were meeting the boat that would take us out. We snorkeled for a couple of hours and then Kenny picked us up and we head back to Mahogany Bay. Isla Roatan is a gorgeous place. It is very poor, but the people are so nice.

It started to rain a little, so A and I went back to the ship. The line wasn’t long when we got on, but once we got up on deck and looked down, it was huge! Glad we got on a little early. We played some ping pong and then went to get ready for dinner. My sister, brother in law and I had reservations for the Steakhouse. This is the first night that my daughter and 8 y.o. nephew went to Camp Carnival. The 12 y.o. stayed in their cabin and ordered room service.

The Steakhouse was wonderful! I got the crab cake, lobster bisque, filet and lobster with the wasabi mashed potatoes. Wow!! The service was excellent too. Glad we decided to eat there.
Stuffed and tired, we picked up the kids and headed back to the cabins. The kids really enjoyed Camp Carnival. I wasn’t sure if A would like it or not, but she wanted to go back the next night for the party-so she definitely liked it!

Day 6-Grand Cayman

We did not plan an excursion for Grand Cayman, just wanted a relaxing day at the beach, etc..
We tendered off of the ship and headed for Margaritaville for a bite to eat. They had a waterslide that went into the pool. The kids were in heaven! I was in heaven once I got my pina colada and cheeseburger in paradise! It was scrumptious! We stayed here for a while and then did a little shopping for some good rum and found it…Big Black Dick. Also got some rum cakes. We then got a taxi to 7 mile beach. We paid $3 per person for the taxi and then $2 per adult to use the beach at Royal Palms. Very beautiful! We stayed there the rest of the afternoon relaxing, swimming and snorkeling in the beautiful blue water. Love this place!
Headed back to the ship, had a nap and then got ready for dinner. We ate on the Lido Deck again. The kids went to the Camp Carnival party and had a blast. The Camp Carnival workers would have brought the kids back to our cabins around 3:00 am, but my sister went ahead and picked them up at 1:00 am and brought A back to our cabin. She can hang later than I can!

Day 7-Fun Day at Sea

Our last day. Boo. It was a fun day at sea though! I got up, again, very early so that I could wash a load of clothes. I am glad I got there early, because by the time I was done-around 8-there was a line of people waiting. The laundry was right across from our cabin, so that worked out well. My sister, A and myself were out at the pool as soon as I was done-ready for a DOD. It’s five o’clock somewhere. The boys joined us later. We stayed at the pool the majority of the day, watched the ice carving guy do his thing and just hung out, people watching. Good times! We ate dinner in the MDR and went for a game of putt-putt afterwards. I won..yay me! Time to pack. Boo again.
They brought our Big Black Dick coconut rum and cashew wine that we had bought to our cabin that night. I had also purchased a couple of bottles from the store on the ship, which they brought as well.

The kids did use the water slide one time, but I can’t remember which day it was. They liked it…it was a little slow going down it though. A couple of adults had to push themselves all the way down it because they just wouldn’t go.

Day 8-Home

Got up bright and early to disembark. Ate breakfast in the MDR-the only time-and it was pretty good. Had a very nice, attentive waiter.
Went to the Atlantic deck to wait to be called. Found seats and the kids played cards until they called our number-10. We got off of the ship around 9:45 and were at the car by 10:15 and on the road shortly thereafter. Back to Georgia we go.

I would love to cruise on this ship again. I feel like I might be disappointed on any other ship now. However, I cannot travel to Europe just cruise on the Legend next year, as she is headed across the ocean. I will just have to try another and hope that she is as fun as the Legend.

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