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Carnival Legend
Southern Caribbean
November 8-16, 2006

by Mary & Vincent Finelli

This was our second cruise on the Carnival Legend, sister ship to the Spirit, the Pride and the Miracle. Thus, we know our way around the Spirit class ships, which were built in cookie cutter fashion and all have the exact same layout. It was three years ago, when we first sailed on the Legend and we are happy to report that under the very amiable Hotel Director Ms. Shahnaz Kashanipour, the ship is just as pristine as ever! Captain Roberto Volpi commands her with special grace. He places the passengers safety and well being above all. When leaving the beautiful island of St. Maarten, he made a U-turn and returned to the island to disembark a very sick passenger who required hospitalization. We were surprised, when watching the patient's transference, that it was the same elderly gentleman who felt ill in Ft. Lauderdale, just before departure. Commandant Volpi makes sound swift decisions: a trait to be admired in the head person on board. This review w ill be brief and to the point, since we have already published a review on this ship (see Carnival Legend, March 2002).

Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, FL is very handy for us, only one half hour from our home in Boca Raton. For a Wednesday or mid week departure I-95 had more traffic than usual, but still no long delays. Boarding Passes were given out on Pier 21 and then security was done inside: 5 minutes for the passes, 5 minutes for security and then a ten minute wait for the elevator to the second floor. Wheelchair passengers and VIPs were sent on ahead to a waiting area. Twenty minutes later the ship was cleared and we were aboard--a total of 40 minutes. Excellent.

We went to meet Maitre D' Tihomir Brdar (Tom), a wonderfully accommodating and handsome gentleman who gave us a table for two, near the entrance of the Truffles Restaurant. We had lunch at the Unicorn Cafe, Lido Deck 9, and were back in our Stateroom #6273 resting until the mandatory Life Boat Drill at 3:30pm. Sail away was just after 4:00pm.

The Carnival Legend is 86,000 gross tons, her length is 959 ft., her beam 106 ft. and her height is 199 ft. keel to mast, with a draft of only 26 ft.. Her maximum speed is 24 knots. This is a lovely graceful white ship, sporting the familiar Carnival whale tail on top. The homogeneity exhibited on the outside of Carnival ships is not apparent at all on the inside. Architect Joseph Farcus' theme of legends for this ship is evidenced by the names of many public areas: Fountain of Youth Spa, Camelot Pool, The Golden Fleece Restaurant, Unicorn Cafe, Medusa's Lair Club, and the Enchanted Forest walkway; the latter is one of our favorite places since it is a quiet, secluded, indoor walk around the prow of the ship with entrances near the theater.

The many silver colored amphorae and the maroon trimmed walls, with the Etruscan Key symbol repeated ad infinitum, are the central foci of this ship and give her an almost morose aspect. However, there are many whimsical touches like the blue and pink Morning Glories depicted on the dining room ceilings and the blue blown glass light fixtures. Yet, in these rooms the real items of note are the vitrines along the walls filled with famous china from around the world (i.e. the blue and white Royal Danish by the entrance to Truffles is exquisite). However, most passengers glide right by and take little notice of the china. Many public areas and much of the common walkways are marble, which makes the Legend a wheelchair rider's dream--easy rolling. This ship is just as lovely as when new; great care is given to detail and her condition reflects it.

Stateroom #6273 has orange pine wood cabinetry and a very narrow entry. When entering on the left is a triple armoire; two sections have hangers and the third has shelves with the personal safe. Next, is a lighted mirrored vanity/desk with four draws. There is a cabinet with a refrigerator and two large storage areas. When entering on the right is the compact bathroom with a standard shower, single sink and sufficient shelves for toiletries. Then, there is a peach leather hide-a-bed, a coffee table, and a queen size bed with peach and beige linens and drapes; orange and red carpeting completes the room. The far wall has a glass door to the balcony. The cabin is long and narrow, while the balcony is narrow and deep. It has a chaise, chair and a small table. Our stewardess Ampika is a very efficient and sweet girl.

We found the service to be excellent on board. Captain Volpi is very visible (i.e., often during his rounds of the ship he converses with the passengers, listening intently to what they have to say). His genial approach is also followed in the dining room by Maitre D' Tom; he and his staff aim to please.

We had table #209 with waiter Gabor and his assistant Zoran, who were friendly and intent on pleasing passengers with their light hearted manner. We found the food to be good, but not on par with the Glory, Triumph, or the Liberty where French Chef Georges Blanc has made many improvements. The Carnival Legend did not offer the Blanc novelties, and the menu reminded us of the former standard Carnival fare.

In the Golden Fleece Supper Club, the upscale restaurant ($30 per person), the menu was much different than the Truffles dining rooms, especially the entrees. Hostess Ivana was very nice and the waitress Marina served us elegantly on Versace plates. This room is stunning and sits high atop the atrium. Appetizers were chef's chilled tomato soup, California roll, and Carpaccio with Parmigiano Reggiano shavings; salad was spinach, bacon bits and Bleu Cheese dressing. The veal chop was cooked to perfection, as were the lobster tail and filet mignon in the Surf & Turf entree, and the best side dish was the sautéed mushrooms. The special dessert was a spectacular caramelized crepe with thinly sliced apples, pistachios and almonds. The only problem is this dessert was so large that it would have been best served as a whole meal. The ambiance in the Golden Fleece was lovely. The live music provided by the duo of singers Patti and Dale was truly wonderful.

Food was good all over the ship. Of course, the best meal on board is always at the Captain's table. This cruise we dined with Captain Volpi, his dear childhood friends and the Senior Officers of the Legend: Staff Captain Luca Lazzarino, Environmental Officer Nicola Tonelli, Staff Engineer Giuseppe Seccia and Chief Engineer Nunzio Priolo who, at a passing mention that it was cold in the Truffles Dining Room, immediately called his office and got a quick adjustment to the desired temperature. He invited Vincent to visit the ship's control room, where Vincent was astounded to see the amount of precise information available to the engineers. Mr. Priolo even checked our cabin #6273 and told Vincent it was a comfortable 72 degrees. Yes, service is "Legendary" on board.

Cruise Director Brent Mitchell has a very big job on his hands, but he is surely up to the task. There are tournaments in the Club Merlin Casino: Slots, Texas Hold them Poker, and Blackjack. There is Trivia, Pool side Antics, Golf lessons, Arts & Crafts, Bridge Games, Bingo, Art Auctions, Dance Classes, Tea Time, Sushi Time, Party Music in Satchmo's Club (a beautiful under used area of the ship--that would make another great alternative dining, i.e. a New Orleans Restaurant or buffet). Show Time is in the theater every night, and Teen Dances, Adult Comedy shows and Late Night Disco are ongoing for the night owls. There is plenty to do on board and when in port there are all kinds of tours.

Day 1. Ft. Lauderdale, FL Depart 4:00pm

Day 2. At Sea

Day 3. At Sea

Day 4. St. Maarten Arrive 7:00am Depart 4:00pm
There are some interesting shore excursions on this island: Several Snorkeling and Snuba diving tours for those who love to see a great variety of coral, sea creatures and shipwrecks; a couple of tours with Jeeps and ATVs for convoy style driving through the island; a tour by Land & Sea of St. Maarten first on a catamaran and then on a Swiss Army Jeep; and an easy tour on the Macarena Choo Choo party bus.

Day 5. Barbados Arrive 12:00pm (usually) Depart 10:00pm
Our arrival time here was at 2:00pm, due to the delay for the medical emergency the evening before, thus some tours were canceled. Several combination tours are available: a Safari ride in Zebra striped Land Rovers with visits to the Ocean Park and the South Coast Beach, combined with a refreshing swim at the beach; a Safari ride to the wildlife reserve with the Green Monkey Encounter; a catamaran sailing to a site where one can snorkel to view a shipwreck and exotic coral and marine life combined with a convoy type tour of the island on 4x4 vehicles; and other tours to a Plantation House and Rum Factory, etc.

Day 6. Martinique Arrive 7:00am Depart 2:00pm
A few shore excursions are available here: A visit to the Botanical Gardens where a great variety of tropical plants and flowers can be seen; a Sailing, Sun & Fun tour of the coastal waters with swimming and snorkeling; and St. Pierre Island Tour, a scenic bus ride around the island up the mountains and through the tropical forest, a close view of the famous volcano, Mt. Pelee, and a visit to the Depaz Rum Distillery, etc.

Day 7. At Sea

Day 8. At Sea

Day 9. Ft. Lauderdale Arrive 7:00am Debarkation 8:30am

If you wish to carry off your own baggage, then early debarkation is for you. The ship was cleared by officials at 8:30am and we debarked at 9:00am. It took just twenty minutes from our cabin to the pier. Ms. Kashanipour had a steward come to our cabin to help with the wheelchair. It made everything easier. Thanks! This eight day cruise ended on a Thursday and the I-95 traffic was so heavy, that it took us almost two hours to drive the usually one half hour trip. But, we are safely home at last and with happy cruise memories.

This has been our 8th cruise on Carnival ships and a pleasant one, but not on par with most of the cruises that we have had recently on this cruise line. The service has been excellent, the itinerary interesting, the weather just marvelous, everything met our expectation, with the exception of the cuisine which has been good, but not as good as the ones that we have recently savored on the Glory, Liberty, Triumph. The main reasons for this are for the pasta dishes and the bread rolls in the Truffles Dining Room: The pasta texture and sauces did not meet Vincent's palate expectations (not tasting "Italian") and the rolls were not sufficiently cooked. However, we did enjoy other items on the menu, especially the desserts.

We are addicted to cruising and we have enjoyed every cruise we have taken, including this one, but we are still looking for the "perfect cruise", thus we'll keep cruising until we find it. Here are a few suggestions to make some improvements to this cruise:

1. We suggest putting some deck chairs or benches on Deck 3 outside Promenade. It is important for the older cruisers to leisurely walk or stroll for their daily exercise some place on the ship, away from the Jogging Track on the Sport Deck 11 where the more fit younger cruisers run at a faster pace than we can, and the best place is the Promenade on Deck 3. We periodically need to sit down and rest during our stroll.

2. We spend a lot of time in our stateroom, thus we frequently watch movies, news and sport programs on TV. We were happy to see that CNN was available, but did not like to watch the ABC, CBS and NBC stations which transmit their local news from Colorado (very provincial) rather than having stations from a more cosmopolitan area (i.e., New York or Miami, which are on the same time zone as the ship). Moreover, we would have liked to watch the Masters Cup Tennis series and the Soccer Champions League and UEFA Cup matches on ESPN International, but it was not available in the cabin, so we went to the Dream Team Sport Bar; however, the loud noise from the slot machines in the nearby Casino irritated those who were watching TV in the Sport Bar.

Happy Cruising to all "Frequent Floaters".

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