Haven’t visited my mother in Clearwater (she’s a snowbird) in several years, so we decided to spend 8 days there and then board the Legend out of Tampa for another week. 15 nights and it went by so fast
Left Albany aboard a Southwest flight bound for Tampa. My mother picked us up there and we headed for her home in Clearwater, her retirement winter home. Must be nice. She says it is!!!! She had warned me way ahead of time that she had quite a list of repairs and maintenance to be done, so I was. The first 2 or 3 days were in the low 70’s and sunny for the most part, so no beach those days. Got a real good chunk of the larger jobs done on those days. Also took a break to visit one of the big flee markets in town. Always fun to do.
Temps in Florida have been averaging much warmer than normal most of the winter and this week, they were way up. It hit 79-81 several days when we were there. All the visiting and jobs done (didn’t get to washing and waxing Mother’s car and was reminded of that) the week was over already. It’s time to cruise!!!
Sunday - Tampa
Sunday Feb 5th, the first day of the cruise was a nice day. My mother dropped us off at the port around 10:45 or so. They asked if we wanted valet service. Never knew they had it. For those of you driving to this port, just set your GPS for Florida Aquarium. It’s right next door (200 ft) and you have to drive right by the pier drop off to get there. So we dumped our luggage with the porter and then joined a short line outside to get in. Once in, there was a longer line and waited about 25 minutes until we were given a call number and checked in. We boarded at 11:50.
We headed straight to deck 9 for lunch. Here we found numerous serving stations for the pasta, pizza, salad, carving, deli, oriental, etc. My wife headed straight for the oriental and I for the meat carving. Mine was good, but barely luke warm, a problem that was evident the whole cruise. Oriental was delicious and hot. Booths very comfortable
Cabins are open at 1:30 and we arrive at our 4105, cat 4K cabin. We booked the least expensive guarantee inside and were given this. They describe it as an Interior w/ French Doors (Obstructed Views). The obstruction of course are the lifeboats. We were almost dead center with one, so not a lot to see around. The door opens and the railing keeps you from going past the door. Definitely better than a dark inside though.
We dressed and headed for the hot tub before the required 3:15 muster. Nice and sunny, high 70’s.. Dried off and on to the muster. Took way too long, at least 20 minutes standing. Back to the cabin and found one of 2 suitcases had arrived. Unpacked, did some exploring and back. 2nd had arrived by then. Unpacked, showered and to dinner. We had requested first seating and were put on the waitlist months in advance. Never were moved. I went earlier to the dining room and re requested early seating. The Maitre'D told me he would do what he could and I left without much expectation.
We arrived at the My Time Truffle Dining Room and requested a large table. We were seated way in back with a great aft view going under the Skyway Bridge. Seated with some very friendly people, one of which was a very young lady from Austria touring the United States by herself. I ordered the Caesar Salad and the Flat Iron Steak off the everyday menu. Very good. Wife had the Sweat n Sour Shrimp. I helped myself too. For desert we had the Creme Brulee and the Black Forest Cake. Both good.
After dinner we walked a bit until Karaoke started. Quite a mix of some very challenged singers. I could name them (won’t of course) as the 2 showed at every session all over the ship every day. Some very good as well. After finishing at 8:50, we went back to the cabin and I watched the Giants get lucky again winning Super Bowl XLVI. We didn’t go out again. Tough day you know. Wife slept poorly and I slept like a rock. She didn’t like the noise and vibration. Seems some of the smaller ships have more than larger ones. On some of the mega ships, you feel and hear nothing.
Monday - At Sea
Up at 7:30 and to breakfast in the Unicorn Cafe. Wife had fried eggs to order and were good. BUT, no salmon available!!! I’m not a big breakfast eater. Happy with an English muffin most of the time. After breakfast we head to Serenity. Nice area for adults only. No pads on the lounge. Apparently they were being cleaned? Checked out some extra towels and pillows and was fine until 10 minutes later when it started to rain. One issue we had with this ship is that there is no place where you can sit in a lounge and be out of the rain. In fact, unless you can find a shadow someplace, there is no shade from the sun either. A few minutes later the rain had passed and we are back out in Serenity for a beautiful day. We ate lunch there too. Wife had Oriental again. She won’t eat oriental at home as I have made her aware of the horrible, unsanitary conditions most have in the states. I’ve seen them first hand and how they mishandle food. It’s not what it seems from the outside. I had good old hotdogs, fries, and chocolate deserts of course from the outdoor grill. Carnival actually serves delicious large, hot, hot dogs. Something I wish my other favorite cruise line(s) offered. We stayed until around 3.
Back to our cabin and found a note informing us of our new dinner seating. We are now officially on early seating. Tonight is Formal (Elegant) Night. We arrive at our newly assigned table 201, a booth for 4 on deck 2 of Truffles. The waiters did not introduce themselves. Maybe they only do that the first night? Arriving soon were our table mates Angie from California and John from Virginia, a long distance couple. Appetizers ordered were shrimp cocktail and the starter version of spaghetti carbonara. Mains were Lobster and shrimp and prime rib. Desert were Apple Tart with Caramel Sauce and chocolate melting cake. All very good.
After dinner, we walked a bit and then to the show “Jazz Hot”. Not really so hot. The singers were all excellent, but the dancers could use some more practice. Afterward, we went to the Punchliner Comedy Club for adult comedy. Saw Macio and he was very funny. Sad that many don’t dress up anymore. I’d say only 60% bothered to put on more than casual clothes for dinner and less than 10% kept them on for the evening. Carnival is way more casual than any other line, period. Once we went on a cruise during spring break where there were tons of college kids on. They dressed a lot better than the “grownups” on formal night.
Tuesday - Grand Cayman
We’re up by 7 and up to Unicorn for breakfast. I settle for Rice Krispies, bacon and sausage. Told you I was easy. Wife had fruit and danish. Off the ship around 9 and on to 7 mile beach. Disney Magic, Celebrity Solstice, Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas, and Norwegian Sun are here today also. Jumped in a taxi bus for the ride and some had been in it waiting for over 30 minutes. We didn’t leave for another 15 until full. Not a good start for those already on the bus. Got off at Sea Grapes, $5 pp. No entrance fee. Walked down away from the bar and found very few people. Just right. Stayed about 4 hrs enjoying a perfect weather day. Instead of a taxi, we took a bus back to the ship. Cost was $2.50 pp instead of $5. Back on the ship and we’re hungry. I head for the carvery and wife to Chopsticks. Meat is barely warm let along hot. Not acceptable! Stocked up on chocolate chip cookies for later. Later, we sat out by the pool and band as the clouds began rolling in. Johnny Cash music? Got to be kidding. Left and went to Serenity for awhile. Sailed at 3:45. Back to cabin for a shower.
Dinner is casual and we find French Onion Soup on the menu which we both promptly ordered. For mains I had the beef brisket and DW had the penne with seafood. Liked mine, but hers was so so. For desert, we had the cheesecake and fig / date cake. Nothing special.
The show tonight is headliner Marcus Anthony. Just saw him a few months ago on the Legend, so we left a few minutes early to get to Punchliners for the adult show at 10. Saw Doug Funk from Toronto. Had a bit of an Irish accent and he was a riot! I checked out the casino and ended up leaving $60 richer.
Wednesday - Cozumel
Up by 7 and it’s pretty cloudy today so far. Today we decide to try the dining room for breakfast. When you walk in, you are asked your cabin # and whether you want to sit alone or with a group. I had the French toast and DW had the scrambled eggs with salmon and cream cheese plate. Slow service. Afterwards, we tried the hot tub which we found not to be very hot.
Ship didn’t arrive until 9:30 and was still overcast so we got off and checked out the shops off the pier. Get’s a little more built up every time we go. Lots to see without having to go far. We bought some vanilla at $6 for about 16 oz. Back to the ship for lunch at the Unicorn Grill. After, we dressed for the beach and headed for Mr. Sanchos. Been there any times. Chairs are free to use with the understanding that you will buy something from the menu. My beer was $4.50 and soda was $2.50. There is also an all inclusive area. We didn’t check into that. Was very overcast, but was very nice as it wasn’t too hot as it would have been if the sun was out in full. Wife walked a ways down the beach and came upon Nachi Cocom. Regular hard plastic lounges with no cushions. Didn’t see anything worth $49 pp.
Back to the ship at 4:30. Dinner is casual tonight. Wife had the Yukon Potato Soup with Shark and Langostino balls. Soup was good, the rest not so much. I had the fried shrimp and salad. For mains we had the Lamb shank and fried chicken. Desert for us was the tiramisu. Not the best we’ve had.
After dinner, nothing much until Love and Marriage game starts at 9. Our CD, Kirk Benning was ill up until tonight. I think he was at the welcome aboard show the first night, but unsure as we didn’t go. He was really still sick. He sweated and sneezed all the way through the show. We would have been quarantined, but it’s ok for him I guess. Show was 6-7 out of 10. Seen much better.
Went to the deck party and it was wall to wall people with no seats and mostly Mexican food. Yuck! Got pizza and took to our cabin.
Thursday - Belize
Docked around 8 AM and we are the only ship in port today. Wife tested the hot tubs and found that they were way to cold to enjoy. Ate in Unicorn again, then dressed and on the tender to town. Tender was quite a ways, but went fast (15 min) as the tender in my estimation was hitting 50 -60 MPH.
Shopping here right off the pier was quite nice. The stores don’t bother you much to buy things as other ports do. Wife bought a couple things over the 2 hrs we were there. Back to the ship for lunch. Chopsticks (of course) for the wife while I had pizza. Ice cream for desert. Relaxed at Serenity afterwards and wow, it was hot. Easily the warmest day so far. Napped back in cabin for an hr and got ready for the welcome back party in the main show lounge. Had a few free whiskey sours as well as some not so very good appetizers.
Dinner tonight was nothing special. Same lacking desert menu. Unless you like (we don’t) the warm chocolate cake that’s available every night, there are very few real “have to have” deserts on the menu for the 7 nights.
Showtime was Dana Tison, a juggler - comedian. Was ok. Afterward, wife went to our cabin to read and I was off to the casino.
Friday - Roatan
Friday, we were in site of land early and were docked by 7:30. It’s bright, sunny, and beautiful. A quick breakfast and we are off to Mahogany Bay Beach which is right off the ship’s dock. Looked nice, but when we got there, we found wall to wall very worn out lounges. We decided not to stay. Grabbed a taxi to West Bay Beach. Wasn’t cheap at $15 pp each way but we were glad we did it. Our driver Angelo spoke limited English but he really tried hard. It was a pleasant 30 minute ride to West Bay. Our driver dropped us at the Mayan Princess Resort where he would wait for us until ready for the return to the ship. Cost was $10 pp for the use of their pool, lounges and facilities. Beautiful place, but because it was so crowded, we walked to the left as far as we could as it was less crowded. Took at least 10-15 minutes. The beach is gorgeous, hence the crowding. Lots of wildlife including eagles, iguanas, tons of fish. DW stood in waste deep water taking pictures of the fish with our NON underwater camera for an hour. Surprised she didn’t dip it by mistake. Got some great pictures of the fish. Lots of people snorkeling here too. Stayed 3 hrs. Went by really fast.
The ride back to the ship was nice too. Driver stopped for some pictures at a couple places. Did some quick shopping right off the pier. Bought a t-shirt. We sailed at 3 PM, way too early for such a nice stop. For the sail away, we sat in Serenity and it was really hot. Barely a breeze so we didn’t stay too long. Was nearly time to start getting ready for the last formal night of the cruise. Dinner was very good. We both had the Chateaubriand after the shrimp, escargot, etc. Desert was the Chocolate Amaretto Cake and Baked Alaska. All very good!!!
After dinner we headed to karaoke, but left when we saw who was there. I went to the showroom to get good seats and my wife joined me just before “The Big Easy“, tonight’s headliner show with the ship‘s singers and dancers. Tonight they hit stride and were much better than the first show a few days ago. Pretty scenery, good dancing and singing. At 10 PM was the comedy show. Marc Rubben, a ventriloquist was a riot. The 11 PM show with Scotty K was ok, but not as good. Headed to bed after a long day with some snacks.
Saturday - At Sea
Up at 7:15 and to Lido. We took our breakfast out to Serenity to get good seats. Today is very cloudy and a little choppy. Very windy, so being out on an upper deck was not very good. Very comfortable and stayed here all day. For lunch, which we took turns bringing back was the usual Chopsticks for DW and I had food from the grill. The chocolate buffet was included for lunch today and as much as I am a chocolate fanatic, I was disappointed in selection. A few things like the choc balls and cake were quite good, but not much selection otherwise. After lunch I checked in for out Southwest flight on my netbook. Very handy to have although not really happy to pay a $4 fee for first time use along with the .75 per minute rate. RCL and Celebrity do not charge this fee and the rate is only .65 a minute. Princess also charges this $4 fee. We stayed till 4.
Got dressed for dinner early as the farewell party in the Firebird Lounge was at 5. Free drinks flowed and Carnival is not stingy with them. Left and headed to dinner for the last time. Appetizers were crab cakes for me (good) and Potato Soup for the wife. I had the prime rib (OK) and wife had the Mac and Cheese. We shared the shrimp. Soufflés for desert were not good and we didn’t finish. Got out before the singing and dancing. Enough is enough. We don’t need to hear the waiters sing almost every night. Too much!
Sunday - Tampa
We docked around 7 or so and it’s COLD out. Mid 30’s, much colder than it has been of late in this part of Florida. We were in no rush as we had a later, after 1 PM flight. Had a leisurely breakfast in the dining room Afterwards, we waited in our cabin. Self assist started at 8:30 and were done at 9. Then Luggage Express started at 9:05. We headed to the show lounge at 9:15 and within 5 minutes one of the crew told us we could leave no matter what color tag we had. A bonus heads up (because we were where we should be) as this was not announced to the ship population. Found luggage by 9:30 and were out. Outside we were intending on taking a taxi to the airport, but saw signs for $11 pp to take a shuttle. We would never do it again as we waited for at least half an hr as well as having to walk quite aways to get to the shuttle. Only a couple bucks more and we could have been on our way quickly in a warm taxi.
At the airport nearly 3 hrs early, the waiting begins. A 2 hr layover in Baltimore too. Home at around 7 and glad to be.
Thinking about our cruise on the Allure in September. We know it will be awesome!
Overall, a very nice cruise. The Legend is one of the smaller Carnival ships which has it’s positives. Makes for easy getting around and you’re never very far away from anything.
Nice older ship
Pretty easy to get around because it’s smaller
Friendly staff for the most part. Waiter could have been better though
Liked the outdoor grill at lunch
Chopsticks a real plus
Not so Great:
Never saw the Captain a single time. Not once. On other cruises, especially RCL, the captain is seen everywhere talking with passengers and speaks at the cocktail parties as well as other times.
Kirk Benning. Absolutely rubbed me the wrong way the next to last night as he sat on the right outside isle in front of us for Showtime. He is watching (big know it all smirk) and unless his assistant was sitting next to him, never applauded for his own singers and dancers. Hmmmm
Can’t get out of the sun or rain if you want to lay on a lounge on this ship
Poor desert selections - Really poor
Poor repeater perks! In fact 7 cruises on Carnival and nothing except for the repeater party