Carnival Legend is the third ship in the Spirit Class, which introduced some significant firsts for Carnival, including 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 ship offers an active onboard atmosphere with the Green Thunder and Splashdown children's water slides, a drenching bucket, RedFrog Pub that sells Aussie beers (including the specially crafted Thirsty Frog Summer Ale) when its sailing in Australia, and the Cherry on Top candy store. On the entertainment side, Carnival Legend features Playlist Production music shows (think Motown and Epic Rock shows), as well as family entertainment that includes Seuss at Sea and Hasbro, the Game Show.
Australian cruisers will find Australian power outlets in cabins, and poker machines (slot machines) in the casino.
Although refreshed in 2014, the decor of the main public areas remains unchanged, and the central theme onboard Carnival Legend -- great legends of the world -- is carried throughout the ship's 12 passenger decks, 16 lounges and indoor and outdoor promenades. Many Australians not used to the glitz and neon of Carnival Cruise Line's ships are likely to find the "legends" and the Grecian urn motif a bit much, not to mention the huge painting of Colossus straddling the central atrium area (rather than Rhodes).
At 88,500 tons and carrying 2,124 passengers (2,680 at full capacity), Carnival Legend just skirts the high side of midsized -- large enough, but not particularly crowded, except at breakfast and lunch in the buffet. We found it quite easy to find our way around soon after boarding, and the Carnival crew were always ready to lend a helping hand when needed.
Daytime: Carnival has a pretty laid-back dress policy with jeans, shorts, T-shirts and bathing suits common throughout the ship.
Evening: Most evenings are Cruise Casual, where passengers can wear anything from smart jeans (no cutoffs) and dress shorts to trousers and casual skirts or sundresses. One or two nights per cruise will be designated Cruise Elegant. Men are requested to wear dress trousers and dress shirts, with jackets optional. If men want to wear suits or tuxedos, then they are free to do so. Suggested attire for women is cocktail dresses or gowns, or dressy trouser suits or skirts. Many people do like to dress to the nines on these Cruise Elegant occasions and pose for photos while other passengers watch these proceedings in the Atrium Bar. With that said, we've seen plenty of folks show up to dinner on these nights in their usual casual attire. A two- to five-night cruise will have one Cruise Elegant night. Cruises of six nights or longer will have two.
Not permitted: As long as you're not wearing swimwear and workout clothes, and men don't wear sleeveless T-shirts or tank tops, you won't be turned away from the dining room.
Catch one of the original productions created especially for Carnival Legend in Follies, the two-level main show lounge on Decks 2 and 3 at the front of the ship. Recalling the days of the magnificent movie houses of the 1920s, 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.
Carnival Legend offers a range of shows from Playlist Productions, which specializes in taking tunes that everyone knows, putting them on stage and transforming them into full-blown, but short (typically about 30 minutes) musical productions. The collection of productions includes Epic Rock, featuring songs from the glam bands of the 1970s and 1980s like Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, as well as big arena rock performers like Bon Jovi. Other shows in the Playlist collection you might get to see are Motor City (R&B sounds of the 60s, 70s and 80s), The Brits (songs from British Invasion bands like The Beatles, The Who and Herman's Hermits) and Studio VIP (NYC's music scene in the 1970s).
The family-friendly, Hasbro, the Game Show, is held in Follies once per weeklong cruise.
There's lots to do to keep busy during the day on Carnival Legend, from multiple trivia sessions to dance classes, bingo (for an extra fee), art seminars and auctions and various retail events when the ship is at sea. Other activities might include beanbag or ring toss competitions, dodge ball tournaments and free-throw challenges.
Live entertainment is the main draw at night on Carnival Legend, whether it's a Playlist Productions show in the Follies Theatre or live music in the RedFrog Pub, Billie's Piano Bar, or Atlantis and Odyssey lounges.
For people who like to laugh, the Punchliner Comedy Club is open most nights with three to five shows from two comedians, starting with a PG-rated show in the early evening and adults-only shows that kick off around 8:30 p.m.
Club Merlin Casino, the medieval-themed gaming area, is popular at night as well, with its castle-like atmosphere complete with a suit of armour standing sentinel at the bar and shields bearing crossed swords and a knight's helmet mounted on the walls. You'll also find a couple of pool tables right off of the casino.
A DJ starts spinning in Medusa's Lair Nightclub around 10 p.m. though it doesn't really getting rocking until close to midnight.
(During a May 2018 refurbishment, Carnival Legend received the Alchemy Bar.)
Firebird Lounge (Deck 1): Late-night comedy acts from the Punchliner Comedy Club lineup appear in the Firebird Lounge, a grand salon that takes 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. A striking red- and pink-hued room, 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. You'll also find karaoke here on select nights, as well as lectures during the day.
Medusa's Lair Nightclub (Deck 2): Don't let the 3.5-foot-high Medusa heads (complete with strands of snake-like hair, capped with snake heads that have lighted eyes) keep you out of the rockin' 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. Meanwhile, a sophisticated light system makes the Medusa heads appear to move and change expression. The nightclub is open from 10 p.m. until about 1 a.m. (or later depending on demand).
RedFrog Pub (Deck 2): The RedFrog Pub is a combination of a Caribbean bar and Irish pub, and apart from its beers (including a specially brewed RedFrog Aussie beer), it offers foosball (or table football) and a bean bag toss.
Dream Team Bar (Deck 2): 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.
Lobby Bar (Deck 2): 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. It's the perfect spot to grab a drink before or after dinner, or in the evening while watching live music.
Atlantis Lounge (Deck 2): This open lounge was built around the main thoroughfare cruisers must walk to get from the front of the ship to the back of the ship. Located right next to the aft elevator bank, it's got cushy sofas and chairs on one side of where people are walking and the bar and a small stage on the other side; it also features the same Greek neoclassical design elements found in the atrium. Although the bar is not an official Alchemy Bar, the bartenders wear Alchemy's signature white pharmacy jackets and mix drinks off of the Alchemy Bar menu. Live music, mostly lite-style instrumental and soft-voiced songs start up about 5 p.m. and continues on and off until 10 or so.
Billie's Piano Bar (Deck 3): Billie's Piano Bar is an intimate art deco club, where the piano player is the centre of attention and everybody is a crooner. A stylish tribute to blues singer Billie Holiday, the centrepiece of the room is the stainless-steel musical bar lined with notes, and a faux 1930s-era oversized microphone decorates each table.
Odyssey Lounge (Deck 3): The Odyssey Lounge is similar to Atlantis Lounge in that it's located along Deck 3's main thoroughfare. In Odyssey, however, the seating, bar and a piano are located on one side of the walkway. As at the Atlantis Lounge, lite evening music begins around 5 p.m. most nights and ends around 10.
Enchanted Forest (Deck 3): Located right outside the Circle C kids' club, this hallway lounge features faux-wood accents, including fake trees popping out of the walls, and has an "I've got a secret vibe" with its out-of-the-way location and dim lighting. We never saw any adults here, just teenagers.
Avalon and Camelot Bars (Deck 9): These poolside bars are for cruisers hanging by the midship Avalon or forward Camelot pools, or for people dining in the Unicorn Cafe buffet to grab a drink to go with lunch or dinner.
Serenity Bar (Deck 9): A small bar dedicated to cruisers lounging in the adults-only Serenity area.
Carnival Legend has three pools: the main Avalon pool, the quieter Camelot forward pool and the adults-only Serenity pool. Each pool also has one or two hot tubs nearby. Camelot Pool has a retractable domed ceiling for use during inclement weather.
Carnival Legend WaterWorks is a top-deck area containing the exhilarating Green Thunder water slide, Carnival's signature Twister water slide (a much tamer ride) and the little kids' SplashZone. First introduced on Carnival Spirit in October 2012, Green Thunder is billed as the fastest and highest water slide at sea. The fun begins when the floor of the slide drops away and the rider freefalls for a few seconds before whipping around the curves at speeds up to 40 miles per hour (65 kilometres per hour). The ride itself takes just 10 seconds, but it's a heart-stopping 10 seconds, we're told.
SplashZone features two little purple water slides that descend into a wading pool and a big dipping bucket that spills water over the kids.
Cruisers looking for drier recreational fun can hit the mini-golf course on Deck 11 or shoot some hoops in the next door half-basketball court. A jogging track circles the front half of Deck 11; 15 laps equals 1 mile.
Carnival Legend's main sun deck spaces are on Decks 9 and 10, right next to or right above the Avalon pool.
You'll also find loungers on Deck 10 in the adults-only Serenity lounge. It's furnished with cane sun loungers with blue padded cushions, a series of two-person cone-shaded cane and padded pods and a few hammocks. Those in the know say that a pod and hammock have been hard to come by, and many passengers get up quite early to grab them -- although seat/lounge minding is frowned upon. Serenity is child-free, but it's only a deck away (via a few stairs) from the kids SplashZone on the top deck and is often the place parents go to chill out when their children are at play. There's a bar offering waiter service, and it's only a walk away from the Unicorn Cafe buffet restaurant. Hence, folks like to hang out there all day.
The main passenger services desks are located in the Atrium on Deck 2, including the guest services and shore excursions desks. You'll also find an ATM on Deck 2, located just outside the casino, as well as a SAS (sail and sign) kiosk for checking your account balance. Right next door is the ship's quasi-internet cafe with five computers and a printer. We rarely saw anyone use it as the ship offers front-to-back Wi-Fi with three packages available. Also on Deck 2, in between Legend Cafe and the Follies Theatre is the Trump Card Room; the Holmes Library is one deck up.
Next to the library is the ship's chapel. Much of the midship space on Deck 3, however, is taken up by shops including the line's fun candy shop, Cherry on Top, as well as places to buy jewellery, perfume, designer and Carnival-branded clothing and Carnival-branded souvenirs.
Further toward the back of the ship on Deck 3 is Pixel Gallery, where you'll find all the photos of you taken by the ship's photographers throughout the cruise. The gallery also offers scrapbooking needs, professional landscape and cityscape prints and a portrait studio.
Carnival Legend has four DIY launderettes onboard, on Decks 4, 5, 6 and 7. Washing machines and dryers cost $3 each, as does laundry detergent.
There's a medical centre on Deck A.
The Carnival Spa, a 14,500-square-foot (1,347-square-meter) two-level health centre, encompasses the forward area of the Lido and Sun Decks, (Decks 9 and 10), providing ocean views to exercisers. 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 in 10 private treatment rooms. Also housed within the spa are complete locker facilities, saunas and steam rooms, and a full-service beauty salon.
Prices are hefty; a 75-minute Thai herbal poultice massage costs $215; a 50-minute Elemis Pro-Collagen quartz lift facial is $160; and a Fire & Ice Pedicure is $77. There are also select treatments designed just for men, and just for teens. All treatments incur an automatic 5 percent gratuity.
The tiered gym, located next to the spa, features the latest cardio equipment, including a top range of treadmills and stair climbers, as well as stationary bicycles and free weights. A great feature of the gym is the chill-out hot tub or whirlpool (often called a spa bath by Australians) in the middle of the room, to ease those aching limbs post workout.
While most cruise ship fitness centers tend to look the same, Carnival Legend's is an original, tiered like a Roman amphitheater so you get a view of the ocean from every piece of its state-of-the-art equipment.
Adjacent to the workout area is a mirrored aerobics room, used 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.
Carnival Legend has several restaurants and quick-bite eateries from the ostentatious Truffles main dining room to the grab-and-go Legends Cafe. At most meals (particularly on sea days), there are several options to choose from, with about half included in the base price of your cruise. Meals can be hit or miss, though at worst were never worse than "just OK." Portions on our Australia sailing were smaller than we expected, though if you choose two entrees, a main and dessert, chances are you'll be full by the time dinner is over. We were also surprised to find many of the offerings in the buffet to be on the spicy side. (Our buffet chefs seemed to enjoy cooking lots of Thai dishes.)
Carnival Legend chefs can cater for cruisers with special dietary needs; it's always best to let the cruise line know before your sailing what your specific needs are. But generally speaking, there are always at least two vegetarian dishes offered at every meal, gluten-free bread is available all the time and at least one dessert is "no sugar added." For gluten-free meals, you'll need to work with the maitre d' in your dining room each night to pick out which menu item you want for the next night's dinner. Gluten-free pizza is also available 24/7 at Pizza Pirate in the buffet.
Truffles (Decks 2 & 3): The full-service restaurant, Truffles, is a two-level 1,250-seat dining room with extensive three-course menus and wine lists.
Truffles is open most days for breakfast, lunch and dinner -- though on select sea days, breakfast may be replaced by a Sea Day Brunch.
Breakfast features all the usually morning options from cereals and pastries to varied egg dishes and pancakes and French toast. Lunch is a bit heartier with sandwiches, hot dishes and desserts. The Sea Day Brunch is a mix of the two.
Also on select sea days is the "Long Lunch at Sea," which is a three-course lunch costing an extra $30 a head. It features dishes like grilled cold-water lobster tail and blue-crab salad, while a fresh seafood platter can be enjoyed for another $20 per person. A selection of wines to pair with the dishes will cost an extra $20 per person.
For dinner passengers can dine at set meal times (the "traditional" early seating or a late seating) on Deck 2 or opt for open dining and then eat anytime between 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Deck 3.
Dinner menus are divided into several sections: appetizers (called entrees in Australia), rare finds, mains, every day favourites, side dishes and international flavours.
Appetizers always feature a Caesar salad, vegetable spring rolls, a hot and cold soup selection, and also might feature diced melon, Thai beef salad, jumbo prawns and spinach and ricotta crepes, among other options. Rare finds are appetizers that Carnival believes might be a new experience for cruisers with meats on offer that include rabbit, venison, wild boar and escargot.
Mains might include such items as teriyaki salmon, veal Marsala, corned beef and cabbage, chicken pot pie, grilled fish and filet mignon. There is always an Indian vegetarian dish, as well as one other vegetarian dish. The everyday favourites are available on a daily basis. In Australia, the choices are salmon filet, chicken schnitzel, meat pie and grilled sirloin steak (more of a skirt steak than anything else). Sides typically include steamed broccoli or green beans, baked potato, French fries or mashed potatoes (in Australia, chips or mash), caramelized carrots and fried noodles.
International flavours are typically inspired by the destinations you're sailing in; they comprise one appetizer and one main choice.
Also on the menu are "Steakhouse Selections," through which diners can sample dishes normally served in the fine-dining steakhouse restaurant, Nouveau. The choices, such as lobster and filet mignon, cost an extra $25 each.
The dessert menu always features Carnival's signature chocolate melting cake, as well as a rotating selection of ice creams, sorbets, cakes, pies and pastries.
Unicorn Cafe (Deck 9): The ship's buffet restaurant, Unicorn Cafe, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and also serves free 24-hour pizza and ice cream.
Meal choices at breakfast include bacon, pancakes and a variety of eggs. Lunch and dinner choices include salad fixings, a soup of the day, pies and sausages, cold meats, hot dishes like beef stroganoff and chicken satay, Asian noodle or fried rice dishes, and deli sandwiches.
Free lemonade, sugarless iced tea and water are available at beverage stations throughout the buffet.
Off the Grill (Deck 9): Located midship, near the Avalon Pool, this poolside grill offers hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken schnitzel and veggie burgers (on request), along with sides like chips (French fries when in Alaska), lettuce, tomato, onion, grilled pineapple and pickled beetroot. (This venue was changed to Guy's Burger Joint during a May 2018 refurbishment.)
Nouveau Restaurant (Deck 11); $45: Situated on a top deck and accessed via an elevator or jaw-dropping glass staircase, Nouveau is the ship's steakhouse, and an excellent choice for a date night or to celebrate a special occasion (though its proximity to the atrium, just nine open decks down, means the music rising from the lobby might not be the most romantic -- much of our dinner was accompanied by American folk and pop songs.)
Starters (entrees in Australia) include escargot, beef carpaccio, ahi tuna tartare, jumbo prawns, Australian blue crab cake, baked onion soup and four salad choices. But, it's the main courses that are the restaurant's prime draw with filet mignon, grilled lamb chops, prime strip of loin steak, broiled lobster tail, Maine lobster ravioli, surf and turf, rosemary-infused chicken and the fish fillet of the day (usually a Chilean sea bass) on offer, among several other steak options. Side dishes available include baked potato, sauteed medley of mushrooms, potato mash with wasabi horseradish, creamed spinach with garlic and steamed broccoli. Desserts include a cheesecake, caramelized apples baked in a puff pastry and the indulgent chocolate sampler with four small servings of bittersweet chocolate cake, banana panna cotta, tiramisu and chocolate marquise. Also available are fresh fruits, a cheese plate and select ice cream and sorbet flavours.
Bonsai Sushi (Deck 2); a la carte: At Bonsai Sushi, passengers can sit at the bar or at tables for two and four and choose from a menu featuring sushi rolls, sashimi, bento boxes (or larger sushi/sashimi meals for two, called shiploads), along with miso soup, Japanese desserts and sake. Items are priced from as little as $2 apiece, with most in the $5 to $8 range. Bonsai Sushi is open for lunch (on sea days) and dinner.
Seafood Corner (Deck 9); a la carte: Located outside of the Unicorn Cafe, just steps away from the main pool is this seafood counter loaded with lobster rolls, oysters, crab cakes, chowders and platters plus lobster, crab and prawns by the pound or half-kilo ($22 for a half-kilo of snow crab, as an example). In Australia, prices start at $2.50 for a single oyster or $5 for New England clam chowder in a bread bowl. The fried seafood platter featuring fish, prawn, clams, calamari and fries is $13. Open from noon until late.
The Chef's Table; $75: Also available on all of Carnival's ships is The Chef's Table dining experience, which affords a dozen passengers an eight-course 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 non-traditional venue, such as the galley or library, and it can be booked onboard at the information desk. It happens twice on most cruises, or according to passenger demand.
Legends Cafe (Deck 2); a la carte: Just near the pub is Legends Cafe, offering espresso coffees (flat whites, long blacks, short blacks and cappuccinos that Aussies love), cakes and pastries at extra cost. Australians, who are coffee fanatics, will be pleased to hear that baristas hail from the Australian Coffee Academy.
Room Service: On Australian sailings, the free room service items are removed from the menu and selections are priced individually from about $3 for breakfast items (such as fruit and cereal), $4 for breakfast breads and pastries, $4 for soups and salads, and about $7 for pizza, sandwiches, pies and chicken wraps. Desserts are $4. It's a limited menu.
There are 1,062 staterooms on Carnival Legend, of which 80 percent are outside staterooms; 80 percent of those have private balconies (which may also be referred to as verandas). All staterooms and suites are tastefully furnished with twin beds that convert to queens, three side-by-side closets (two of which have room for hanging clothes), plenty of drawer space, flat-screen televisions and mini-refrigerators, telephones, private safes, and a shower or shower/tub combo depending on category. Most rooms also have just two outlets (one 110V and one 220V). Bathrooms in all categories except suites have three small glass shelves by the sink, and liquid shower gel and shampoo dispensers inside the shower units. Bathrooms in all accommodations, apart from suites, have shower curtains. Suite shower stalls are equipped with glass enclosures.
Of interest to families are the 53 sets (106 staterooms in total) of interconnecting cabins; 25 sets were added in the renovation. There are 17 wheelchair-accessible staterooms.
Inside: Inside cabins measure 185 square feet (17.10 square meters), but good design and soft lighting add to a feeling of spaciousness. Each inside room has bedside tables with three drawers, a narrow desk with a stool tucked underneath and a single armchair.
Ocean-view: Despite also measuring 185 square feet (17.10 square meters), outside cabins add a sofa to the room's furnishings, along with a porthole or picture window. There are also 64 ocean-view staterooms with French doors that open, but views are obstructed and you can't actually walk out anywhere.
Balcony: Balcony cabins are 225 square feet (20.0 square meters), including the verandas but have pretty much the same furnishings as outside rooms. Balconies are each big enough to hold two chairs and a small table, with room to spare.
Suites: There are 50 suites, including Junior, Grand and Vista suites; the Vista Suites have partial wraparound balconies. Both Grand and Vista suites are located aft, overlooking the wake. Sizes of suites (all suites) range from 360 square feet (33.45 square meters) to around 465 square feet (42.20 square meters) including the balconies.
Suites include walk-in wardrobes with a dressing space, separate sitting area, refrigerators, double sinks, spa bathtubs (i.e., whirlpools) in addition to showers and large balconies each big enough for two tables, two sun loungers and one or two sitting chairs, depending on passenger requirements.
Extra services for suite passengers are priority embarkation and disembarkation.