Carnival Legend is the third ship in the Spirit class, which introduced some significant firsts for Carnival: alternative restaurants and onboard wedding chapels. Spirit-class ships also offer an impressive 80 percent ratio of outside cabins, as well as lots of nice little touches -- like museum-quality artwork and "designer" martinis.
The central theme onboard Carnival Legend is, aptly, great legends of the world. The theme is carried out throughout Carnival Legend's 12 passenger decks, 16 lounges, and indoor and outdoor promenades. The "Fun Ship" has it all including a nine-deck-high atrium, an onboard golf program, a duty-free shopping mall, a video arcade and an 1,800-square-ft. children's play area.
At 88,500 tons and carrying 2,124 passengers, Carnival Legend is just skirting the high side of mid-sized -- large enough, but not particularly crowded; we found it quite easy to find our way soon after boarding.
Carnival Legend features three restaurants. An expansive poolside eatery features breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets, and a 24-hour pizzeria. The full-service restaurant, Truffles, is a two-level 1,250-seat dining room with extensive menus and wine lists. There's also an intimate steakhouse-style supper club offering prime aged beef. The surcharge to eat there is $25 per person.
In early 2008, Carnival Legend became the first ship in the Carnival fleet to test out flexible dining in the main restaurant. Passengers can can choose traditional main or late seating dining, or opt for the flexible choice and eat anytime between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m.
Also available on all of Carnival's ships is The Chef's Table dining experience, which affords a dozen passengers a multicourse dinner with a master chef, a private cocktail reception and a tour of the galley and its operations. This dining option usually takes place in a nontraditional venue, such as the galley or library, and it can be booked onboard at the information desk for a per-person cost of $75.
Carnival Legend offers 16 lounges and bars with a variety of themes to fit any mood or taste. As you enter the ship, you are greeted by the bar in the nine-deck-high Colossus Atrium, which is dominated by a towering mural of the Colossus of Rhodes. Popular for pre-dinner cocktails, the Odyssey and Atlantis lounges offer quiet, intimate venues with live music and the same Greek neoclassical design elements found in the atrium. Club Merlin Casino, the medieval-themed gaming area has a castle-like atmosphere complete with a suit of armor standing sentinel at the bar and shields bearing crossed swords and a knight's helmet mounted on the walls.
Eighty percent of the cabins are outside; 80 percent of those staterooms have private balconies. It is interesting to note that inside cabins measure the same 185 square ft. as outsides without verandahs. Balcony cabins increase to 225 square ft., including the verandah. There are 58 suites in three categories starting at 360 ft. and going up to 465 square ft. (including a wraparound terrace). All staterooms and suites are tastefully furnished with twin beds that convert to a queen, large closets, plenty of drawer space, televisions and refrigerators, plus the usual amenities found on new vessels (telephones, private safes, and a shower or shower and tub depending on category). Suites include separate dressing and sitting areas, refrigerators, double sinks, bathtubs as well as showers, and large balconies. Good design and soft lighting add to a feeling of spaciousness in interior staterooms; Category 5 staterooms are outside and have French doors that open, but views are obstructed.
Carnival recommends $11.50 per person, per day. The guidelines allocate $5.80 to dining room services, $3.70 to cabin services and $2 per day for alternative services, which include kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel staff members. The amount is automatically added to your shipboard account, but can be adjusted in either direction at the guest services desk. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar bills. Tipping for room service at delivery is expected (and appreciated) by the service staff.
Catch one of two original productions created especially for Carnival Legend in Follies, the main show lounge on Promenade Deck. Recalling the days of the magnificent movie houses of the 1920's, Follies evokes the feeling of an open courtyard in a Mediterranean villa. Arches, turrets and stained-glass chandeliers create an opulent, expansive space while providing excellent sightlines.
Satchmo's Club is a great place to unwind with some soft dance music. Named after legendary trumpeter Louis Armstrong, the club is decorated to resemble an old New Orleans bar with exposed brick, wrought-iron details, ceiling fans, cafe curtains and a false skylight. Adorning the walls are black and white photos of Armstrong at different stages of his career. Next door, the Dream Team bar offers overstuffed sofas and comfortable bar stools -- the perfect vantage points to quaff a brew and catch up on the latest sporting events.
Billie's piano bar is an intimate, art deco club where the piano player is the center of attention and everybody is a crooner. A stylish tribute to blues singer Billie Holiday, the centerpiece of the room is the stainless-steel musical bar lined with notes and a faux 1930's-era oversized microphone decorates each table.
Late-night comedy acts appear in the Firebird Lounge, taking its theme from the old Russian folktale of a talented seamstress from a small village who is turned into a bird by an evil sorcerer; the Firebird is decorated with replica hand-painted Russian lacquered boxes, accented by lamps with frosted glass globes painted on the inside to create a soft glow.
Don't let the giant (three and a half feet high!) Medusa heads with strands of snake-like hair capped with a snake's head with lighted eyes keep you out of the rocking Medusa's Lair dance club. The wall of closed-circuit televisions flashes images from the dance floor mixed with videos and special effects, while the sound system plays the latest dance music -- and a sophisticated light system makes the Medusa heads appear to move and change expression.
Camp Carnival is centered on a 2,400-square-ft. enclosed play area on Deck 5, away from adult activities. The Fun House is headquarters to a supervised program, divided by age groups, offering children's activities for ages 2 to 15 with a bottom of the sea theme. Three areas are connected by tunnels: one area for crafts, a second one for computer games and a third one for games. A video wall displays movies and cartoons. One deck below is an arcade with both virtual-reality and video games. An outdoor play area offers mini-basketball, jungle gyms and other playground equipment. A children's wading pool and a corkscrew water slide are also available for fun at sea. Teenagers had overnight slumber parties among their menu of activities. Carnival offers a Fountain Fun card, good for unlimited soft drinks during a one-week voyage. Group baby-sitting is available from 10 p.m. until 3 a.m. at the Fun House ($6 for the first child and $4 for each additional sibling).
A broad crisscross of (mostly) middle America; according to Carnival, 30 percent of its passengers are under the age of 35, 40 percent are between 35 and 55, and 30 percent are over 55.
A one week cruise features two formal evenings. Most men opt for jackets and ties, but a large number wear tuxedos. Resort casual attire is suggested for the rest of the evenings.
|Fitness and Recreation|
The Fountain of Youth Spa, the 14,500-square-ft. two-level health center encompasses the forward area of the Lido and Sun Decks, providing ocean views to exercisers. The gym is equipped with stationary bicycles, treadmills, and rowing and stair-climbing machines, as well as free weights and dumbbells. Adjacent to the workout area is a mirrored aerobics room, used especially for a series of exercise classes including low- and high-impact aerobics, yoga, spinning, and stretching and relaxation sessions; some of these classes have an additional fee per person so check prior to sign-up. The Steiner-operated spa offers a variety of treatments including aroma stone therapy, full body and scalp massages, seaweed wraps, mudpacks, and various slimming and toning therapies. Also housed within the spa are 10 private treatment/massage rooms, complete locker facilities, sauna and steam rooms, and a full-service beauty salon.
The ship features four swimming pools and four whirlpools -- one available in the spa itself and three others on Lido Deck -- as well as a padded jogging track encircling Deck 11. During the day, the Avalon Bar, located mid-ship, serves a variety of frothy, tropical concoctions. Corresponding to the theme are statues of a medieval castle at the CamelotPool, an armored knight at the Avalon Pool and the figure of the mythological horned horse at the aft Unicorn Pool. Camelot Pool has a retractable domed ceiling for inclement weather.
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