by Keith & Diane Ballweg
September 28, 2004
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.