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ships > carnival > legend > Blog Nov 3 - 10, 2013

Carnival Legend Cruise Blog

7-day Cruise from Tampa, FL - November 3, 2013


carnival legend grand cayman



Boring boring boring, so let me just say this about packing:

After all the preparation and planning and experience I still forgot my comb, hairspray, hair tie, my favorite black jeans and long sleeve shirt, dental floss, husband’s deodorant, and for the kicker, the 3-way-outlet adapter. Our stateroom has two plugins. One 110V and one 220V. None in the bathroom except for the “electric shaver” outlet. One video camera, two phones and a hair dryer. Needless to say we’re switching appliances non-stop.


Day 1

The Crosstown expressway was closed before highway 60 so we were bumper to bumper for 45 minutes only a few miles from the port. We missed lunch and we felt hurried throughout the day and until after we passed under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.  We had a nice meal in the dining room and met two ladies from South Dakota who we ran into again this morning at breakfast. Funny how that happens on a cruise ship.

The ship is obviously not at full capacity and we’re thrilled with that idea. Every cruise we’ve ever been on has been full. Captain just announced 12 ft. waves.

Some minor issues we’ve had so far: Our cabin thermostat didn’t work so the temperature in the stateroom stayed around 62 degrees. The technician came by and fixed it this morning. Our safe wouldn’t open this morning and the deck officer came by to open. No power outlets is the biggest gripe. I’ve made a note to my packing list – pack adapter first!


Day 2 - At Sea

Yesterday was our sea day. It was cloudy most of the day with peaks of sunshine.  Carnival offers breakfast/brunch until 1:30 pm in the dining room. That’s a big plus for me; I’ve never been big on eating breakfast first thing after waking up. We enjoyed drinking our coffee on our balcony and then leisurely went to the dining room for a full breakfast/brunch meal around 11:30 am. We met some nice folks from the Vancouver area, Lilly and Nelson. and then two more couples joined us. A sweet couple from Tennessee and not surprisingly our dinner mates from the night before, Beth and Jennifer, were seated at our table. So funny how you run in to people over and over after the first meeting.

We wanted to relax knowing we had a busy week ahead so we just cruised the ship taking photos (some you received yesterday) and talking to folks. So many great people who cruise!

Last night was Captain’s night and we decided to have dinner early (anytime dining) knowing we had plans for an early meeting in Cozumel. We did skip the Captain’s reception and went straight to dinner. We asked for Joel’s section because he provided such great service the night before. Lucky for us he had a table for two open in his section. Excellent service as always. On the menu for formal night were options such as Alligator Bites, Lobster and Shrimp and Prime Rib.

After dinner we went to the Casino to lose $40.00 ($20.00 each) while waiting for the show. We met a nice woman from Alabama, Michelle. and talked for over an hour. I even won 220 credits on my machine but didn’t pay much attention just because the conversation was so good.  We took in the Jazz show in the main showroom and found it to be very entertaining.  We had plans to go back out to watch the 11:45 pm comedy show but the rain distracted us and we spent the rest of the evening watching the rain from our balcony.  


Day 3

We were the first ship in port this morning and thought we may be all alone in Cozumel. Fifteen minutes later we noticed another Carnival ship in the distance heading our way and then another appeared. Within a half hour our view of Cozumel from our balcony was blocked by the arrival of the Carnival Paradise alongside.

It was raining pretty heavy when we left the ship but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the new shopping arcade built after Hurricane Wilma devastated the area back in 2005.  Shopping was plentiful and good deals were available everywhere.  We’re celebrating our wedding anniversary on this trip and we purchased some highly sought after Tanzanite. Shocking how much the price have gone up since our first Tanzanite purchase back in 2001.  If you never seen Tanzanite it’s worth a look.

Our fellow passengers who booked water excursions and land tours had to go to plan B for “safety reasons” due to all the rain. We didn’t have any excursions scheduled and after a few hours of photo taking we worked our way back to the ship to do some people watching from our balcony.  Looks like everyone made it back onboard in time for the sail away.

The rain stopped about an hour before we left and the sun came out as we were pulling away from the dock. Regardless of the weather it was a good day in port.

On a sad note we watched an ambulance pull up next to the Carnival Paradise and that’s never a good sign.  We saw a young child being loaded into the ambulance with her family by her side. The cruise vacation was most likely over for them. Our thoughts are with that family.

Dinner was casual this evening and we again sat at Joel’s table. He’s an awesome server and deserves all our praise. He surprised me with a birthday cake tonight – I asked him to please not sing happy birthday to me on my actual birthday so he snuck it in two days later.  Joel is a very smart man indeed.   

As much as we enjoy the various entertainment venues onboard, we decided it would be best to retire after dinner to ensure we’re good to go for a long day tomorrow. We’re very excited for our next stop: Belize. We’ll explain more after our return.

Until next time,




Day 4 – Tender to Belize

Our cruise director made it a point to inform us that our Captain had to zig-zag around the coral reefs to reach our destination safely. We made sure to get up early to watch our complicated approach and indeed we had to zig-zag our way through the area and it was a sight to see. We arrived in Belize right on-time and thankfully we brought the sunshine with us.  It was the first time we saw the morning sun since leaving Tampa.

Belize is a tender port and if you want to leave the ship first thing you must go down to the main showroom (Follies) and get a tender ticket. After you get a ticket you’re asked to wait in the showroom until your ticket number is called. It’s an easy process and we were called to the tender in less than twenty minutes. For some passengers the ride on the tender to the pier was too long - we didn’t think so. The process was so efficient we arrived at the pier earlier than expected and used the time to look around at all the shops and restaurants in the tourism village. We worked our way towards the back of the shopping area and met a vendor named, Crystal. She operates out of booth “14” at terminal #4 and it’s there we found a great assortment of Belizean hot sauce. If you go to Belize make sure to work your way outside the cookie-cutter shopping areas found in most Caribbean ports and venture just a little further beyond the ”iron gates” to meet the locals. 

We spent the day exploring the area and took a trip to the Altu Hun Temple. Due to issues with flooding outside Belize City, temples dated B.C were not accessible. Despite the restrictions we still enjoyed the area and the tour provided by our guide, “Stanley”. Altu Hun is a must see if you’re a history buff. If you’re more the adventurous type, Cave Tubing or the ATV/Zip Line adventure is for you according to the locals.

We watched the sail away and took it easy on our balcony until dinner time. A pool-deck party was scheduled for the evening entertainment but the storms came soon after our departure from Belize. The rain came down in buckets and the storm produced some wicked lightning. Most of us made an early night of it.  

Tomorrow’s port stop: Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

Until next time,



Day 5 – Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

What a difference a decade makes! The island did not resemble anything like what we experienced during our last visit in 2003. The last time we traveled to Roatan we were able to dock (thanks to NCL) rather than tender but there was little to do other that shop at a few vendor shacks and grab a beer. If you wanted to do ANYTHING other than shop for local specialties, you had to take an excursion organized by the cruise line. Today we discovered what looked like a 5-star resort with all the amenities.

The Approach:

Like every port day I wake up early to watch our approach and I literally got turned around and confused by what was happening. We were slowly gliding along and suddenly the ship came to almost a complete stop. I say to myself “I know we dock here and we don’t have to tender so why are we stopped?” Then I feel the thrusters and we do a 180 degree turn and start backing up. And we back up and back up and we’re still backing up –all the way to the dock. The distance had to be at least a mile long. I realized the Bay is so narrow and shallow that it’s impossible for the ship to turn around and backing in is the only way to bring the ship alongside.  Awesome to watch to say the least. The pier can accommodate two ships the size of the Carnival Legend with enough space left over to accommodate a few smaller ships.

The Port:

The moment we left the ship it felt like we were entering a theme park. The walkway leads you right into the shopping mall where you can find favorites like Diamonds International. Outside the mall and to the left you’ll find more favorites like the Harley Davidson store and Fat Tuesdays. In the middle of the mall you’ll find the zip-line. If you turn to the right you’re guided to the lift that takes you to the beach area, or you can save the $12.00 (all day pass for the lift pp) and simply use the walkover. We decided to walk instead of ride the lift which turned out to be a good thing. To the left of the walkover is “Dolphin Isle” and our timing was perfect – it was meal time for two dolphins and folks all around us seemed pretty happy to have a chance to see dolphins up close. Just over the bridge is a large beach area offering lounge chairs, beach cabanas, a massage hut, bars, restaurants, vendors and even a space for the crew to hang-out on their day off the ship.  The water was clear but not as clean as you would expect. It was a good day for swimming despite the rough surf and the pier at the end of the beach proved to be quite popular with the snorkelers.  The resort area is clean, well-managed, and safe. Security was everywhere.  No comparison to what we experienced during our previous trip to Roatan and we’re very happy about that.   

Back on the ship at 2 p.m. to watch the stragglers who seem to be the same people at every port who don’t keep time. The Captain asked everyone to be back on the ship no later than 2:30 p.m. for a 3 p.m. sail away. It was 3 p.m. and passengers were leisurely making their way to the pier. Sometimes you wish those folks would get left behind so maybe next time they pay attention to the time constraints and be more considerate of others.  Yeah right.

Tonight was formal night and Chateau Briand was on the menu. Yummy. We took in the show and called it a night.


Day 6 – George Town, Grand Cayman

It was a lazy day.  We’ve been to Grand Cayman three times and arriving in George Town didn’t have the excitement factor like some of the other port stops. Nothing has changed since our last visit and we’ve done all the things we wanted to do there so we spent about an hour in town taking photos and then returned to the ship to enjoy the pool where deck chairs were plentiful. We met a couple from Washington state, Linda and Clyde, and spent the next 4 hours enjoying the conversation with cocktails in hand.  When the sky turned dark and the deck lights came on we thought it best we return to our cabin and dress for dinner.  

Food was good and service was excellent as usual.  After dinner we took in the comedy show at the Punchliner Club and retired for the evening.  

Tomorrow is our final day onboard and there’s a full day of activities scheduled including a scavenger hunt, vegetable carving demonstration, and country line dancing. The evening schedule features a passenger talent contest and the newlywed game.  

Popular excursions for passengers in George Town: 7-mile beach, Stingray City, Turtle Farm, HELL (a geologic formation), and every watersport you can imagine.

Until next time,



Day 7 - At Sea

Our plan was to spend the day relaxing and enjoying the pool deck, mingling about with fellow passengers we met along the way. We woke up around 7:30 a.m., had coffee on the balcony and then packed up our tote for a day by the pool. It was partly sunny and very windy but still enjoyable outdoors.

We grabbed the same spot we had during the Grand Cayman sail-away and set-up shop. Nex...t thing you know we see Linda and Clayton and sat down next to us and we continued the conversation from the night before. We ate from the buffet and spent the next hour soaking up some intermittent sun and shoeing away the bar stewards. There were 4 stewards, all familiar to us, and they’d make their rounds every five minutes. It was only 9:30 a.m. and none of us wanted alcohol with our eggs. The behavior can be annoying to some passengers but we had fun with them.

We saw the clouds in the distance and I walked over to the edge of the ship a couple of times to watch the progress. I could see the rain line about a mile away and I knew there was no way we could maneuver around it. The staff already closed the upper decks to passengers so we wrapped up the conversation and went back to our stateroom to start the packing process early. Packing for home is so easy. Our worn clothes get packed nightly so all we had were a few leftovers along with all our shoes and toiletries. The most challenging part of debarkation packing is choosing what to leave out for the evening and trip home.

The high winds and rain kept most everyone away from the open decks so after packing we went for lunch at the buffet. We wanted to sit outside but the wind blew the french-fries off my plate. We watched the “Marriage Game” in the Follies Lounge which turned out to be somewhat lacking and it wasn’t because the couples involved weren’t participating. I have to blame the Cruise Director (more about when we offer a full review of the cruise)

The atmosphere was melancholy and I know we all wished for better weather on our final day. We watched CNN to keep track of the news from the Philippines and then watched a movie until dinner time. We met up with Beth and Jennifer for our final meal in the dining room and to say our goodbyes. We gave hugs to our dining stewards and tablemates with hopes of seeing each other again. We returned to our stateroom to place our luggage outside the door and then left to watch the final two shows at the Punchliner club.

The Carnival Legend was moving along at a good pace after leaving Grand Cayman. Overnight we sailed at 20.5 knots and tonight we’re sailing at 17 knots with winds blowing at 38 mph and gusts to 50 mph. We’re scheduled to dock at 8 a.m. but we all know that’s probably not the case. We’re already off the coast of Ft. Myers and I’m still awake.

Debarkation Day

Our debarkation number was nine, assigned by our luggage tags left on our bed the night before. I was surprised to find us so far away from the pier at 6:30 am. It’s possible our pilot was late or we had to wait for another ship to clear the channel. We arrived alongside in Tampa at 7:15 a.m. Self-assist debarkation would not begin until 9:15 a.m. We waited on Atlantic deck 3 until we were called at 10:15 a.m. The process went very smooth. We were in our vehicle by 10:45 a.m. and home by noon. We’ll have a full-review of the Carnival Legend and our Western Caribbean itinerary later on this week.

Tomorrow we arrive at our last port stop, Georgetown, Grand Cayman before we turn towards home.

Until next time,


Fun Times

Samples of the daily ship bulletin, the Carnival Fun Times from Nov. 3-10, 2013.

Carnival Fun Times Nov. 3-Day at Sea

Carnival Fun Times Nov. 4-Day at Sea

Carnival Fun Times Nov. 5-Cozumel

Carnival Fun Times Nov. 6-Belize

Carnival Fun Times Nov. 7-Mahogany Bay, Roatan

Carnival Fun Times Nov. 8-Grand Cayman

Carnival Fun Times Nov. 9-Day at Sea