This was our third Mediterranean cruise since 1996. Our other Mediterranean experiences have been with Princess. We have been on 24 cruises. We arranged our air and land package with RCI.
April 17 and 18, we went from Miami-JFK-Athens on Delta. Flight was good. A RCI Rep greeted us in Athens with a luggage cart, whisked us through customs, and transported us to the Athenaeum Inter-Continental Hotel. The hotel provided a beautiful suite with all the amenities of a fine hotel. We had a very good dinner at the hotel that night.
April 19, we went to the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion. We asked for calm seas and good weather. We got both. That evening RCI arranged a very nice dinner with entertainment at an exclusive waterfront restaurant for all the Legend passengers. It was a nice beginning.
April 20, we went to Delphi to visit the Temple of Apollo and museum. It was once considered the "navel of the earth" and the Oracle held court there. It was an 11 hour tour, but well worth the time. That evening we went to a dinner and show at "The Old Stables", a taverna outside of Athens. We had taken this tour in 1996 and it was just as enjoyable this time.
April 21, RCI did the ship registration at the hotel and we received our boarding passes. RCI took our passports and kept them until Lisbon. RCI took all passengers for city tour of Athens and the Acropolis. We arrived at the port at 1 PM, but did not board the ship until 3:30 PM. The people handling the boarding were inept, and had no idea how to handle an embarkation.
April 22, we arrived in Kusadasi, Turkey. This port is very clean and passenger friendly. We were greeted by young women in native dress who welcomed us with candy treats. We took the History and Religion of Roman Ephesus tour. A definite "must see" in this part of the world, very impressive. Complete excavation will probably take another 50 years. It is a city of marble. Lots of great sites to see, especially the library of Celsus. Included in this tour was the Grotto of the Seven Sleepers, House of Mary and the Church of St. John. We had lunch at a magnificent resort right on the Aegean Sea. They had the best food and coffee we had during our entire trip. Entertainment was provided by a troup of 15 young people in native dress. They were all excellent dancers and musicians.
The area of Kusadasi has and is building many beautiful resorts catering at this time mainly to Europeans. They are built overlooking the Aegean Sea. We even saw 2 water theme parks being built.
At the end of this tour we were taken to a rug making "school". We were shown the whole process from the silkworm to the finished rug. We were then brought into a hugh room and were offered every type of refreshment. Then beautiful rugs of all sizes were thrown at our feet. The salesmen came in and they closed the door behind them and started the hard sell. Some people did buy, we did not. We along with 6 other people decided to leave, and as we made for the door, rugs were being thrown at our feet. It was an experience, but we don't care to repeat it. On our way back to the Legend, we went jewelry shopping. Prices were excellent.
April 23, we arrived at Santorini. We toured Akrotiri and went to a wine tasting. Tours really not needed for Santorini, very easy to do on your own. You can either go up the mountain by cable car, donkey or walk. We went by cable car. Local people are very friendly and helpful. We were fortunate to be there until late evening, so we had lunch a dinner in 2 different tavernas overlooking the Legend and the sea. Jewelry prices were better than in Athens.
April 24, we arrived in Rhodes. We took the Medieval to Modern Rhodes ship's tour. Medieval tour took us to Palace of the Grand Masters an ancient fortress within the fortress city of Rhodes. We stood where the fabled Colossus of Rhodes, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world was said to be located. We never got to see modern Rhodes on this tour (when we told RCI about this, they credited our account). We saw it when we were on the ship sailing out of the harbor. We had lunch at a taverna in the ancient city. Shopping was good there.
April 25, arrived in Crete. We toured the Palace of Knossos, Retymno and the Cretan Coast. We had a wonderful lunch at the Grecotel Creta Palace Hotel in their beautiful outdoor courtyard. The island of Crete has beautiful resorts.
April 26, finally a seaday and a chance to explore the Legend. First formal night on ship.
April 27, we arrived in Naples. We took the Amalfi Drive-Sorrento and Naples tour. The drive was a thrill seeker's paradise, road was very narrow, winding with heavy traffic. We saw Positano and had a very good lunch in Amalfi. The tour was about 10 hours, mostly riding in bus. At the end of our tour we were taken to a Cameo factory.
April 28, we arrived in Civitavecchia and took a " Walk in Renaissance Rome" tour. It includes the fountains, plazas and Spanish Steps. Since our last visit there, Rome has been cleaned up a lot. The Trevi fountain was absolutely beautiful. Our luncheon in Rome at a 5 star hotel left a lot to be desired. Shopping in Rome was expensive. City was very crowded, and pickpockets and gypsies were working the whole area. Heavy police presence all over Rome.
There was a parade in the harbor for a local saint, which kept passengers and crew from reboarding Legend after tours. The harbor was blocked from 4 PM until 7:45 PM, causing frustration and anger by not only Legend passengers but ferries and cargo ships. Legend had to have open seating for dinner because of this problem.
April 29, we arrived in Livorno. It was at this point we stopped using ship's tours. We hired a minivan with 2 other couples and went to Florence. We walked the city and went to Ponte Vecchio for shopping. Florence was expensive. We had a good lunch at an outdoor cafe.
April 30, seaday, got a lot of rest poolside. Second formal night.
May 1, arrived in Barcelona. Had massages in AM and went into town for lunch at a small restaurant off the Las Ramblas Promenade. Barcelona had May Day celebrations. Day off for most people.
May 2, seaday, more time to relax on ship. Third formal night.
May 3, arrived in Gibraltar. For the first time during this cruise we had slight rain in AM. This port has lots of new housing and a new dock area since 1996. We had planned to go to the top of the Rock, but it was misty and visibility was poor. We walked to the old part of the city, had lunch in a Pub, shopped and returned to the ship by cab.
May 4, our last seaday. Some relaxation before packing to go home.
May 5, arrived in Lisbon. RCI handled departure very well. Airport was efficient. Our TWA flights had 2 delays, but were good. Food on returning flights was tasty and served hot.
Legend of the Seas Comments: We were in a cat. D and were able to enjoy the balcony because we had very good weather and calm seas. Ship was going into dry-dock for a refurbishment, but it was very clean. Service and entertainment was very good. Our only complaint with Legend was the food. The food with the exception of 1 evening was tasteless and hot food was served cold (not warm, cold). The waiter tried his best by offering exchanges, but replacements were not better. Security was lax compared to our other ship experiences. There were about 1700 passengers, mostly Americans, Europeans (mainly Spanish, Brits, Germans ) and Asians.
We had a very good table for 10 and we enjoyed sharing our experiences every evening. We had a wonderful time being in such great ports.