Review of the Legend of the Seas w/ photographs - Jan 3 - 13, 2014


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Legend of the Seas – Eastern Caribbean - January 3 – 13, 2014

Thursday, January 2 – Travel day

Well, here I am at LAX, waiting for my flight to board. I am through security little earlier than I planned to be, but that is not a bad thing. So since I found a place to plug in and sit, I figured I would get started on my review.

First, a little about me. This is my twenty-fifth cruise overall and tenth on Royal Caribbean. I am Diamond on Royal Caribbean. I’ve also cruised on Carnival ten times, Princess twice, NCL twice and once on one other cruise line (I don’t recall the name of the cruise line). I am starting to cruise on Royal Caribbean more as I prefer longer cruises (this one is ten nights) and though I like Carnival, Carnival offers very few cruises that are longer than eight nights. This will be my first time on the Legend of the Seas and my second time on a Vision class ship, though my first Vision class ship was the stretched Enchantment of the Seas.

Since people seem to like details, I try to write my reviews while on the ship, while things are still fresh in my mind. My last cruise was on the Allure of the Seas in September 2013. So far this trip has started off much more smoothly than the Allure cruise, as the taxi was on time this time (last time the taxi was late and I had to quickly make alternate plans).

I made my reservation for the taxi last week. I then called yesterday to confirm my reservation. The person starts asking me a bunch of questions which I answer. When she asks for the time I said I made my reservation for 4:05am. Then she gets mad at me for not telling her I had a reservation already. So I told her that she has been asking questions from the beginning which I have been answering. Also, she knew my name and address (which I had not given her yet), so I assumed she was looking at the reservation. At any rate the reservation was confirmed.

This morning I received a text message when the taxi was dispatched. I received a computer call telling me the taxi would arrive in one minute. It was actually a little before 4am when it arrived, so I am liking this taxi company must better than the last two I've tried. I went to the FlyAway and was able to catch the 4:15am bus (I had planned to catch the 4:45am bus).

There was no traffic and I was in the security line by 5am. It turned out to be the wrong security line. I somehow ended up pre-cleared by TSA. The instructions being given for which line I should be in were a little confusing. When I finally asked a TSA employee I was directed to the correct line and was immediately challenged by another TSA employee. However, when I showed her my boarding pass she allowed me to pass, only to have the same person ask me two minutes later to again prove I was in the right line. After seeing my boarding pass she then remembered looking at my boarding pass two minutes earlier. The advantage of being pre-cleared is I don’t have to remove my belt or shoes (though because my belt bucket is metal, I do have to remove that), nor do I have to take my laptop out of the backpack I carry it in.

So, shortly after 5am I am through security looking for a place to plug in. Though things have improved since the last time I was here. LAX does not have enough plugs, given all the people who fly that have things that need to be charged. However, on the plus side there is access to free Wi-Fi, though for an extra charge you can connect to a faster Wi-Fi.

Well, my flight is schedule to depart on time and I can see that the plane is here. So I’ll be back at you later today when I arrive in Fort Lauderdale.

The flight from LAX to DFW was uneventful and only a few minutes late. Upon arriving in DFW however another plane was unable to taxi and was blocking our plane from making it to the gate. Visions of the close call I experienced last time danced in my head. However, a tug was quickly dispatched and the stalled plane was moved out of the way after a few minutes. I checked the departure board and found that my connecting flight was scheduled to depart on time and was at a gate that was furthest from the gate I deplaned from (of course - I expected that). One thing I noticed, we were told the temperature was around 35 degrees and that was noticeable as soon as I deplaned and stepped out on the jet way.

I’m not sure what the delay was, but when I arrived at the gate a few minutes after boarding should have begun I noticed nobody was boarding the plane. I quick question revealed that the delay would be short. There was a snack shop directly across from the gate, allowing me to get my first food today. One nice thing, as I boarded I looked out the window and noticed my luggage was being loaded. So that would be one less thing I would have to worry about (I’ve had luggage head off to a different city than I was going to twice – fortunately both time it was on the way home, so all that meant was laundry was done two days later).

On the flight from LAX to DFW I was in a coach class seat with first class leg room. I’ve flown first class before and it is not worth triple the cost of coach. However, all I am really interested in is the extra legroom and the seats that American calls Main Cabin Extra (MCE) is only about twenty percent more than coach. It is a coach class seat with first class leg room. I booked the flights about three months out and the MCE seats for the DFW to FLL flight were sold out. However, there were some premium seats available. These are coach class seats with the center seat blocked off, so there are only two people in each three seat row. The leg room is standard coach, but there is more elbow room, so it wasn't too bad.

The flight made it to Fort Lauderdale a few minutes late. I booked the Cambria Suites via the Hotwire. I ended up with a suite a little south of the airport. While the hotel is in Fort Lauderdale and only a couple of blocks from I-95, it is in a wooded area that makes it feel like it is in the middle of nowhere.

After checking in I went up to my room. The entry light didn’t work; however, the room was not dark. There was a very bright light in the parking lot shining into the room. Fortunately the room has two blackout curtains and one shear curtain. I set my stuff down and headed back down for dinner.

While in the lobby I asked about the Internet access. It is free. I then asked about a shuttle to the port. They offered that for five dollars per person. Since the taxi fare was twenty dollars and the port is right next to the airport, I decided that was a good deal and signed up.
Unfortunately I am too tired to take advantage of the free Internet (I got less than four hours sleep last night) so until tomorrow, good night.

My cabin is down there somewhere ...

My cabin (it is a junior suite) ...



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Friday, January 3 – Embarkation day

I decide to sleep in and don’t get out of bed until 9am. However, I did watch the news, and all they talked about was the weather. Anyone from the northeast who tried to take a flight down today most likely will not make it. Flying in a day early will solve missed connection issues, but it will not help you if your home airport is closed. Good luck catching the next flight as most flights are full (both of mine were). Good luck to those that have cruises booked for this weekend and are planning to fly in on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Given what I saw on the TV, I felt lucky to make it myself (even though I started from a warm weather city).

I signed up for the 10am shuttle and plan to leave the room at 9:30am. Though the room was already paid for, my dinner and shuttle charges where billed to my room and my bill was slid under the door (just like they do on the cruise ships). Downstairs I check out and wait for the shuttle. Turns out I am not the only cruiser at the hotel. The sixteen passenger van is full. Most are headed to the HAL Zuiderdam. No one is headed to the HAL Maasdam (which might be a good thing as I soon found out), and I am not the only one headed to the Legend of the Seas.

After dropping off most of the passengers at the HAL Zuiderdam, the van the driver headed back to pier 26 to pick up a couple of passengers returning from the HAL Maasdam. They did not speak highly of the cruise. It took them over two hours to clear customs causing some people to miss their flights and with tempers flaring, a fight broke out. It was only 10:25am. Why are people booking flights so early? Had they listened to what the cruise line told them (don’t book before noon) they would not have missed their flight. My flight is 2:55pm.

The Legend of the Seas is docked where the Allure and Oasis of the Seas dock. I’m in a junior suite which means I get to board with the other suite guests, ahead of the Pinnacle and Diamond Plus guests, which is then followed by the other levels in descending order with general boarding last. There was one person in line ahead of me at check in. I was in the waiting area by 10:40am and boarding was set to begin at 11am.

I showed my SeaPass to the person who was directing passengers to their waiting area and he pointed me to the suite waiting area. I looked over my SeaPass, but neither my cabin number nor the type of cabin is listed. How did he know I was in a suite? Turns out full suite guests (Grand Suite and above) have gold cards. Those in a Junior Suite have a silver card. Diamond level guests have a light blue card (Diamond Plus guests have a purple card).

The person checking us onto the ship said I was the first one to board, which is lucky. We will see if that is true. The first thing I did upon boarding was to find my cabin steward and tell him I was dropping my carry-ons off in the cabin. Then I headed up to deck ten to photograph the ship.

As I said, my last cruise was on the Allure of the Seas. No sooner had I crossed from the back of the Legend of the Seas to the front of the Legend of the Seas that it was apparent that there was a just a little difference in the size of the two ships (I hope nobody believes that). In fact, the Allure is the biggest ship in the fleet (by a little more than an inch) and the Legend is the smallest ship in the fleet. Not only is the Legend about 300 feet shorter than the Allure, but it only has one outdoor pool while the Allure of the Seas has four. In fact the number of options on the Allure of the Seas dwarfs the number of options on the Legend of the Seas. And, as I soon discovered, the Allure moves (pitch and roll) a lot less than the Legend does.

After photographing deck ten (the sun deck) and deck nine (the pool deck) I ducked into the Windjammer for brunch. After that the cabins were open for everyone. I went back to mine to check on my checked luggage, but it had not arrived yet. So I went down decks four and five to photograph the public areas on those two decks.

When I finished with that I headed back to my cabin. Still no checked luggage, so I decided to photograph the cabin and then rest up for the muster drill. Shortly after the first muster drill announcement was made, I checked outside my door again and finally my luggage arrived. I dragged the luggage in and decided I would unpack after the muster drill.

Then I remembered that I didn’t have any photographs of something that said Legend of the Seas on it. So I decided that I would go up to the pool deck, take a picture of the life ring buoy that has "Legend of the Seas" printed on it, and then head down to the muster station. The second announcement for the muster drill had been made, but the actual muster alarm signal had not sounded yet. I stopped to take my photograph which attracted the attention of one of the crew members who wanted me to go to my muster station. I protested that the alarm had not sounded yet but the crew member would have none of it. Since I actually had taken the photograph before being challenged, I decided it would be better to comply then to try to point out again that the alarm had not sounded yet.

The muster drill was fairly quick, but not fast enough for a young girl rookie cruiser standing next to me, who was looking forward to the fun beginning. Once the muster drill was over, since I didn’t have to take the life vest to the muster drill, I headed up to the pool bar where our roll call had decided to meet for sail-away. There were over seventy people signed up for the Meet & Mingle, I don’t know how many on the roll call thread, and four people at the sail-away.

We should have left at 4:30pm, but we didn’t leave until after 5pm. I would find out later that it was due to a medical emergency that came up during the muster drill. Once we left the harbor it then got quite rough. As I would later learn, it was apparently rougher than TV satellite system could handle. In fact, I noticed the barf bags were out, attached to stair banisters.

I have second seating which begins at 8:30pm. So around 7pm I headed over to the Diamond Lounge to check things out. Seems that because of the number of diamond, diamond plus and pinnacle members on board, the evening session had been moved to the Anchors Aweigh Lounge which is the second biggest lounge and is just above the main show lounge. When I got there is looked kind of empty. I enjoyed some of the snacks and a blush wine (which is free).

A lady from Texas sat near me and we ended up talking for over an hour. She was not feeling too well mentally. This was supposed to be her anniversary cruise and she had booked their honeymoon cabin. However, shortly before the cruise her husband up and left her without a word or a note. She called him to make dinner arrangements and he told her he left her – and that was it.

At any rate when it was close to dinner time I headed over to the main dining room and found my table. It seats eight. There were three people there and just as I sat down guess who else sits down at the table? The lady I had just met less than ninety minutes ago.

On the Allure of the Seas I was able to get two sliders as an appetizer (it is listed as a main classic main course which consists of three sliders). However, the waiter said I could not order it as an appetizer (the pasta can be ordered as an appetizer). So I had a shrimp appetizer and chicken as the main course, both were good.

After dinner I went back to the cabin and explored the iPad. I don’t own one and have never been interested in one. I have two desktop computers (one Mac and one PC) plus a laptop and one reason I have the laptop is I don’t like viewing my photographs on the three inch screen that is included with the camera (the other reason is that I can play games on it during long airport delays). Also it serves as a good place to store the photographs (which I also back up to a USB drive). While an iPad can store photographs, I also have some games that require more power than the iPad has and I have some photo editing software that is also beyond the capabilities of the iPad. Basically I need a “real†computer and have no interest in a computer want-a-be with a small screen. I don’t even like browsing the Internet on the laptop (which has a much bigger screen than the iPad, but not as but as my monitors at home).

That said, if someone is going to lend me an iPad to check out, I will check it out. It will not play through the TV screen and has some games, some movies (for less than those offered through the TV screen on the Allure), access to the Internet (for a cost) but basically nothing that was of any great interest to me. So with that, it's time for bed and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Scenes from around the ship ...



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Saturday, January 4 – Day at sea

Well, I am up in time to catch the sunrise, but there are clouds on the horizon and thus sunrise is a bust. I am interested in watching the football games today; however, the ship is having trouble with its TV satellite. As we would learn at the Captain’s Corner tomorrow, one of the bumps we experienced upon leaving Fort Lauderdale knocked the satellite reception for the TV off line. So, no footballs games for me today.

I am in the cabin working on this when my cabin steward pops in to clean the cabin. I tell him to come in, as I have things I want to do, such as breakfast and to check out the onboard shops. Hopefully he will finish before I am done. I’ve got no special plans for today beyond taking some photographs while at sea and watching the football games. Hopefully they will have the satellite feed fixed before the games begin (that didn’t happen).

The wind is blowing hard which makes holding the camera steady while taking the photograph very challenging. Fortunately I am shooting with a wide angle lens which minimizes camera shake. In addition I can set the camera for sport which will increase the shutter speed, which also minimizes camera movement.

When I return to the cabin the cabin steward is done and I decide to up load my photos and watch TV. Since there is no satellite feed there is no football, but there is also nothing else. So the ship is showing whatever programming it has available, which includes the series of programs on the building the Voyager of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas. Yes, I’ve seen these programs before, but I enjoy them and I end up watching the TV and relaxing most of the day. Boring perhaps, but we will hit five ports in five days, so I'll be active soon enough. Just relaxing is one of the things I look forward to on the cruise, after all, everything is being taken care of by someone else (no cooking, no cleaning, no laundry, no work, no driving ...).

The Meet & Mingle is at 1:15pm in the Viking Lounge. The area for the Viking Lounge has been reduced. There are now two specialty restaurants (Chops, the steakhouse and Izumi, an Asian restaurant) in the space that used to be the Viking Lounge thus leaving a lot less space for just sitting, relaxing and enjoying the now reduced view. In fact, Izumi has the forward view and if you just want to enjoy the Viking Lounge you end up with a starboard side view. I would have given the forward view to the Viking Lounge and given the starboard side view to the Izumi restaurant. Chops has a rear facing view.

Tonight is the Captain’s party, and I am about to enjoy one of the advantages of a small ship – no lines. There are a little over 1800 passengers (which is just a little more than the size of a typical line on the Allure of the Seas) on board for this cruise. This is about one third of the number that were on the Allure of the Seas, which is three and a half times bigger than the Legend of the Seas (which leads to one of the staff saying welcome to the lifeboat of the Allure of the Seas). At any rate the lack of lines is noticeable.

Of course on the first day the shore excursion desk has a line. I booked all my shore excursions online before the cruise. I have something planned at each stop. I booked all through the ship except for St. Maarten, where I am going to Maho Beach with my good camera and photograph the planes landing. If you have ever seen pictures of what appears to be a commercial jet landing a few feet above the heads of the people on the beach, you are looking at a picture taken at Maho Beach (also known as Sunset Beach). Basically there is the Caribbean Sea, the sand, a two lane road and then the runway. I’ll just hire a taxi to get there and back, so I’ll be doing this on my own. However, I was not able to book my shore excursion for Fort Lauderdale for disembarkation day. Fortunately I can book shore excursions in the Diamond Lounge. So after a quick visit to the Diamond Lounge I am all set for the rest of the cruise.

At any rate, I get off the elevator and find myself staring at one of the photographers. I quickly realize there is nobody in line and pose for my photograph. The same was true of two other formal portraits and my photograph with the captain. This is one of the big advantages of smaller ships. Another big advantage is that you can run into the same people over and over again. On the Allure if you want to see someone again, you better exchange information, because otherwise you may never see them again.

At dinner tonight there are only two of us. The lady I met last night and I, and she is not in good shape mentally. I’m actually quite concerned about her. So, other than the uncomfortable situation, dinner was good.

There is no production show tonight, so I head back to my cabin. It is late, I’m tired, and so I update this for a few minutes and then hit the sack. See ya tomorrow morning.

More scenes from around the ship ...



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Sunday, January 5 – Day at sea

Well, it is another day at sea, so with no special schedule to follow, I sleep in late. We set our clocks one hour ahead this morning. Hopefully they will get the TV satellite feed fixed so that I can watch the football games. I am a Packer fan and they play today. The problem with no satellite feed is not only is there no football, there is no news to tell me who won yesterday.

To my surprise the Captain’s Corner is today at 10am. Usually the Captain’s Corner is late in the cruise, not early. Also, the Captain’s Corner is being held in the Centrum, not in one of the lounges. I got to ask a question about what happens when someone doesn’t make it back to the ship on time from a shore excursion, what the difference is between the ship with traditional propulsion (like this one) and one with azipods and why the ship shutters every once in a while?

At the Captain’s Corner we receive a fact sheet. There are 915 cabins. The full passenger capacity of this ship (all beds full) is 2076 people. There are 720 crew members. This ship’s interior volume (known as gross tonnage) is 69,130 tons (giving a passenger space ratio of 37.8). The ship displaces 78,034,000 pounds (39,017,000 tons) of sea water. The ship holds 571,140 gallons of fuel. The captain says the ship gets about 63 feet per gallon, giving a range of about 5900 nautical miles. The ship is 867 feet long, which means it takes almost 14 gallons to move the ship its own length. Still, with a full load of passengers the ship is getting about 21.5 passenger miles per gallon (one nautical mile equals 1.15 land miles).

Today there is still no visual football. However, the ship is playing the radio feed from the San Diego Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers.

I woke up this morning and my watch had the proper time. The next time I looked at my watch it was showing noon and I knew that was not the correct time. After playing with my watch for a while I realized something was very wrong. The battery is only a two or three years old (it should last five). I go to the watch shop onboard and ask for an inexpensive water proof watch. They don’t have any inexpensive watches. Finally I settle on one that is $95. Then next day they had the $140 watch gift sets on sale for $20. So much for the luck of being the first onboard. In fact, this happened to me a second time later in the week. Packing for ten days in one suitcase pretty much filled up the suitcase, so I decided not to pack my backpack. I soon realized what a mistake that was. So I bought a cheap $15 souvenir bag. Guess what went on sale the next day? At least that was only a $5 difference. I would have been happy with $20 watch, so that cost me an extra $75.

While walking around the ship I ran into the three tablemates that were at the first dinner, but not at last night’s dinner. As I suspected they went to a specialty restaurant. I’m hoping that they will be there tonight. Last night was a little uncomfortable for me.

Well, for the most part today was a lot like yesterday. So I thought I would describe my cabin. It is a side facing junior suite (JS) that is under the solarium. It seems a little bigger than the rear facing JS I had on the Enchantment two years ago, but smaller than the hump JS I had on the Navigator last year. It also has a very nice sized balcony. Though there are no lounge chairs, it is wide enough to fit one. It does come with two chairs and a table. There are also two chairs and two hassocks inside the cabin. So if one wants to, one could take the hassocks outside and put one’s feet up. Inside there is also a pullout sofa, so I believe the cabin can sleep three.

There is plenty of drawer space and a normal sized closet (it is not a walk-in closet). It has a tub/shower combo, a coffee maker with Seattle’s Best Coffee. The coffee maker covered up the two 110 volt outlets on the desk, and since I don’t drink coffee, I moved the coffee maker to the shelf space behind the two chairs so it would be out of the way. The mini refrigerator keeps things cool. Not as cold as a home refrigerator, but cold enough that you can tell it was in the refrigerator. JS and full suites come with an iPad which as a turns out allows you to check your onboard account balance. The TV is not interactive, so if you are in a balcony or lower you have to go to guest services to check your account balance.

On the Enchantment the tub had a small trough between the tub and the wall opposite from the shower head. As a result the bathroom floor flooded every time I took a shower. There is no trough between the tub and the wall in this bathroom, so the floor stays dry. To make up for that lack of a mistake, they installed the towel rack on the wall in the tub. This works great if you like to dry off after a shower with a wet towel. I ended up taking one of the towels out and leaving it on the toilet seat so that I would have a dry towel to dry off with after my shower.

The only other issue with this cabin is that I can hear the carts moving over the tile on the solarium floor (which is my ceiling). At first I thought there where kids running in the hall to their cabin as the sound the carts made sounds just like a child running (thump, thump, thump …). However, I began to realize the sound was overhead and sometimes too slow to be someone running. I then realized the sound came from the wheels hitting the small space between the tiles where the grout is.

Two other items of note. One, apparently when originally built, the deck six cabins were ocean view cabins. Balconies where added during the last dry dock. The balconies stick out from the side of the ship. Thus if you look straight down from the balconies on deck eight you see the roofs of the deck six balconies. Two, one of my ceiling panels had a couple of spots with rust. However, midweek the maintenance staff showed up and replaced the rusty ceiling panel (no, I did not request the repair).

There is a production show tonight called Absolutely Fab. It is a tribute to great music and singers of past and present, including Elton John, Dusty Springfield, Robbie Williams, Tom Jones and Shirley Bass. It was okay. Not great, not bad. I like a little more energy, but there was enough energy that I didn’t doze off. I have second seating for dinner. The show was at 7pm, which is when the first seating people are eating dinner.

At dinner tonight nobody but me showed up. Fortunately one of the people at the table next to me recognized me from our roll call and invited me over to their table, so I didn’t have to eat alone. They are a good group which helped make for a good dinner.

After dinner I head back to the cabin, upload my photographs, work on this a bit and back everything up. Tomorrow I have an 8:30am shore excursion, and since I don’t seem to have the same energy that I had just two years ago, it is off to bed for me.

The pool ...



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Monday, January 6 – Tortola

Since I’ve already described the ship and my energy level is down, I’ll just describe the ports and anything interesting on the ship for now on. Otherwise things were fairly typical.

There were clouds on the horizon thus ruining all the sunsets and sunrises. What is needed is a clear horizon and clouds overhead. Any clouds on the horizon mean you cannot see the sun until it is higher in the sky. That means it is brighter and thus the colors are washed out. If there are no clouds overhead then there will be no color, just an orange ball on the horizon.

This is my second time to Tortola. Everyone mentions the Baths, and since I haven’t taken one this year I figure it would be a good time to try it out. It is described as pools of water surrounded by boulders, so I assumed it was a fresh water activity. Before leaving for the shore excursion I decide to check out a towel. Surprise, we don't have to check them out. I guess the people that wanted one already have one and so towel thefts are down.

There is also a 40 to 45 minute ride to the island and another 40 to 45 minute ride back to the ship. This quickly reduces a four hour tour to two and one half hours. With the wind blowing the ride was rough, though I didn’t notice anyone getting seasick.
Some lucky (and rich people) owned homes on private islands with a wonderful view of the ocean and the surrounding islands. However, a trip to the store requires a boat ride which would not be fun in weather like we are facing.

After we dock there is a short taxi ride to the trail head. After a short walk down a dirt path I find myself at a beach with lots of boulders. There is a strong wind and the red flag is out meaning there is a strong current and thus it is dangerous to swim. As a result I (and everyone else) was not willing to go out any deeper than my knees. One, the outgoing current was strong and two, with all the churning water it is hard to see the bottom. Because of the boulders, the sand can be shallow on the side facing the beach and then suddenly drop down eighteen inches or more on the exposed side of the rock. A fall with the strong current could result in a quick ride into even deeper water.

Overall, I was not impressed with the Virgin Gorda Baths. If the weather had been better, it would have been like a day at the beach – with boulders. Personally I don’t think the boulders add that much to the experience.

More pool photographs ...



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Tuesday, January 7, 2014 – St. Kitts

As we are approaching St. Kitts I notice another big ship headed the same way we are headed. It turns out to be the Adventure of the Seas. The Adventure of the Seas backs in (we dock with the bow pointed toward the island) next to us on our starboard side. In fact, though there would be other ports that we shared with other cruise ships, I never had a ship block my view (I'm in a port side cabin).

As I watch the Adventure of the Seas back in, I notice a tug go by. I later found the tug helping to push us to the dock. Apparently the wind was strong enough that the thrusters alone could not bring the ship to the dock.

The Seabourn Spirit is also here today. However, it is so small (less than 10,000 tons) I didn’t recognize it as a cruise ship. It is docked at a separate dock across the bay from us (can't have the rich mixing with the riffraff).

This is one of the two islands I have not been to before. Since it is my first visit, I decide to take a tour of the island. Many people on the ship recommend the train, but I have opted for the Scenes of St. Kitts. We make three stops. First we visit a restaurant that used to be a hotel. It is interesting comparing this three hundred year old building to modern buildings. The hotel guests would have had a wonderful view.

Next was a place that make colorful fabric using a process known as Batik. The artist hand paints the fabric with wax. Then the fabric is put in a cold dye. The dye colors the area of the fabric that has no wax. This meant that for each color the fabric had to be painted with hot wax. Then soaked in a cold dye. Then a hot water bath to remove the wax from the fabric. Then repeat for each new color.

The last stop was Timothy Hill, were you can see both the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean at the same time. I also got my picture taken with a monkey (it is hard to tell the two of us apart).

The tour was interesting. However, it was more about the three stops we made than about St. Kitts itself. I would have liked to learn more about the island. Maybe next time I'm hear I'll take the train.

There is another production show tonight called Swing City. Once again the show time for each seating is while the other seating is eating. It is okay, but does not have as much energy as Absolutely Fab.

More scenes from around the ship ...

The main show lounge ...

Upgraded interactive signs ...

The Solarium ...



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Wednesday, January 8 – Dominica

As we approach Dominica I can see it has room to dock only one ship. We are approaching the dock at a rather strange angle. It turns out the Legend of the Seas carries her gangway on the open deck near the bow (where the forward winches and ropes are located for docking). Cranes are used to lower the gangway to the dock. Normally this is done after the ship is secured. However, this dock is not long enough to reach the bow of the ship once the ship is secured, so the first thing the ship must do is drop off the gangway before moving into position to be secured for passenger disembarkation and embarkation. The bollard (the things the ship's ropes are tied to) are not connected to the shore or the dock. They are accessed by small boats. Of course before leaving the ship must back up so that the gangway can be retrieved.

The buildings near the pier are painted in Easter colors (pastels). This is my first visit to Dominica and I have booked another tour of the island called South Atlantic Panoramic Drive. Okay, but we didn't do any driving along the Atlantic. All of our driving was along the Caribbean.

Our first stop was Scotts Head at the southern end of the island where you can see the Atlantic & the Caribbean at the same time. I'm not sure what the big deal is about seeing two bodies of water at the same time. It is actually the same water separated by some imaginary line. There is a small mountain that we can climb for a better view. Okay, the better view means we can see more water and it is windy up there. One easily observed difference between the Atlantic and the Caribbean is that the Caribbean is calm as it is on the leeward side of the island. In fact, all the islands (the islands are the dividing line between the Atlantic and Caribbean) have their ports on the Caribbean side for this reason. On the way down it starts to rain. It is not a heavy rain, and would have been nice but for the strong wind.

The next stop is a Catholic Church. I took pictures of the only two stained glass windows I could find that were not broken. Unfortunately this island is poor and many of the people live in what could best be called shacks. It is an okay place to stop and we are given a snack by the tour guide. However, I am not Catholic, so it really doesn't hold much interest for me. We were told that 60% of the island is Catholic.

Our last stop was at an elementary school. The school had a museum, but it was what you would expect from an elementary school. It basically displayed old equipment, not antique, just old, like a typewriter.

Most of the kids had gone home already, but a class of sixth graders was still in session. As I walked around I came to an open gate. Since students were in class I did not try to enter. However, one of the nuns invited me in. After verifying that it was okay to enter I walked around a bit until the sixth grade teacher invited a group of us to the school’s Hall of Fame. Almost any achievement would get your picture on the wall. There was a referee and a student who was the youngest certified diver (eleven years old). One of the people in our tour group asked if we could take pictures of the kids. The teacher said she would have to ask the students. We all heard a loud no followed by several yeses. There were more yeses than noes, but there were enough noes that the teacher told us no pictures of the students. I then walked around and fed some of the goats and rabbits at the school. Besides the three “Râ€s the school obviously taught agriculture and farming.

The tour provided some basic information about the island. Apparently there are some beautiful water falls, but they were not include in the tour I took. Basically the island can be described as beautiful and poor. The tour was interesting.

The Captain ...

Our cruise director ...

The iPad ...



Well-Known Member
Thursday, January 9 – Antigua

This is my third time in Antigua and my third time going to Antigua’s version of Stingray City. It is almost as good as Stingray City in Grand Cayman. Two other ships are also visiting Antigua with us. The P&O Ventura (a ship that looks a lot like the Grand class of Princess ships) is docked next to us and on the next pier is the Costa Magica (which looks a lot like the Carnival Victory without the whale tail funnel).

I have reserved the early morning tour so that the stingrays will be hungry when we are there (I enjoy feeding the stingrays). We are loaded into vans and driven across the island. Antigua's Stingray City is more or less due east of St. John's (where the ship docks) on the Atlantic side of the island. The ride takes about twenty minutes.

On the way there I hear three people in the seat behind me speaking in a foreign language. There are two woman and one man, the three of which I am guessing are collage aged. I ask them what language they are speaking and it turns out they are from Lithuania. I had not seen them on the ship and ask if they are the Ventura. No, they are on the same ship I am on.

Our van is the first to arrive. Having been here before I walk around to see what if anything has changed (nothing really). There are cages with monkeys and tropical birds. I don't have any monkey food (we are not allowed to take food, including bananas, off the ship) so I don't have anything to attract the monkeys. However, the birds like to bite things and there are plenty of small sticks laying around. Sticking one into the cage draws a bird over who quickly bites the stick in half. Another stick and the same result. Its not much, but it is a good way to pass the time until we are called for the pre-tour instructions.

There are a lot of passengers from the Ventura here and they are all loaded onto on big boat. They are the first to leave, but the big boat fully loaded is not that fast and they are the last to arrive. The rest of us are on smaller boats. I'm sitting next to a family from, I am guessing, Thailand. I haven't seen them on the ship and I ask which ship they are on. They are not on any ship. They are staying in one of the hotels on the island.

We are the second boat to arrive at the sandbar where the stingrays will meet us. The area is marked by a rope and buoys. However, there are no nets. Just like in Grand Cayman, the stingrays are wild. The sound of the boats' engines is their dinner bell. I'm the first in the water, and the first to have my picture taken with the stingray (two pictures).

Then I start feeding the stingrays. Now I've done this here two prior times and in Grand Cayman three times, but for the first time I am now dealing with fish that steal the squid I am trying to feed to the stingrays. I can hold the squid a little tighter, but then part of my hand gets sucked into the stingray's mouth when it eats. The stingray eat like a vacuum cleaner works - with suction. A bite doesn't hurt, as the stingrays don't have teeth. It is a lot like being bitten by a baby that has no teeth yet.

When the food runs out and I swim around the coral taking pictures of the various fish that are there. Eventually it is time to return to the boat for the ride back to shore. Once on shore I go to the room where they sell the pictures. I know my pictures are numbers one and two. Both look fine, so I buy them both ($15 each) on a CD.

Then a quick trip to the shower to change from dripping salt water to dripping fresh water. I have a ship towel to dry off with, but I did not bring a change of clothing. Once back at the ship I change into street clothing and head back out to take pictures of the ships that are docked.

Tonight is a top tier C&A event. Top tier basically means everyone except gold. It is held in the solarium. I get a chance to speak to the hotel director (Francois Wache). He was one of the four people that was at the Captain's Corner last Sunday. After it was over I caught up with him, and joked that the ship should have gone with a cable system, then it would not have the issue with the satellite being down. He said something (which I didn't catch) but did laugh. Because he is from France I was concerned that his English might be weak and he didn't understand that I was joking. I wanted to make sure he understood that what I said was a joke. Well, he did understand that I was joking and we had a long very interesting chat. He is a very nice gentleman, I'm glad I had the chance to speak to him one on one.

The cruise director was also there. One of the programs I watched when the TV satellite feed was done was the Sovereign of the Seas dry dock. Keith Williams was the cruise director on the Sovereign of the Seas right up until a day or two before it was completed. Thus he had to do all the work, but didn't get to enjoy the rewards of a job well done. I asked him about it and he confirmed that he was not happy about being sent away like that. There were two cruise directors on the Sovereign of the Seas and another ship just lost its only cruise director (he wasn't misplaced - he quit) and so Keith was sent off to replace the cruise director that quit. He and I had a shorter chat as he had to take the microphone and thank everyone for "coming back home to Royal Caribbean". Nonetheless, I also enjoyed the chance to speak with Keith one on one.

Scenes from outside the ship ...

Leaving Port Everglades ...



Well-Known Member
Friday, January 10 - St. Maarten

We arrive in St. Maarten shortly before dawn. Soon we are joined by the NCL Breakaway (it didn't breakaway), which is a very large ship (twice the size of the Legend of the Seas).

I don't have a ship tour planned. I am going to Maho Beach (also known as Sunset Beach) to take pictures of the planes landing at the airport, which is right next to the beach. Last time I went to Maho Beach was April 2008. I went swimming in the water and took a water proof camera with me. The pictures came out okay. However, I've got a new camera and lens that should be perfect for this and I want to get some high quality pictures. Of course, since I am taking my good camera, which is not water proof, I am dressed in street clothes, because I'm not going anywhere near the salt water with my DSLR.

I hop on a taxi with a few other people which reduces the cost (the more people, the less each one has to pay). There is a draw bridge that allows tall boats to enter and leave the marina. It is open a lot in the afternoon, so traffic can back up and extra time has to be allowed to make it back to the ship on time. However, I notice that there is now a second drawbridge which I believe is new. The driver confirms that it is new and helps reduce the traffic congestion.

Looking at Maho Beach there is the ocean, sand, a two lane road, a fence and then the runway. Once I arrive at Maho Beach I notice the beach (meaning the sand), is a lot shorter (distance from the road to the water) than I remember it. One of the locals confirms that there has been some erosion of the beach. I also notice a second fence has been added near the end of the runway (but only near the runway). I guess they are trying to get the people that like to hang on the fence while the jets are taking off to back up a bit. I'm not sure how effective it is, since the jet blast can, and does, blow people off the beach and into the water.

First I take some photographs of the sign warning of the danger of standing behind the jets as they are taking off. Then I go over to the Sunset Bar to wait for the jets to land. 737s, 757s and some Airbuses land at this airport. However, the big prize if the KLM 747 that lands here.

The bar and the beach are both full of people with cameras, and all seem to be waiting for the KLM 747 to arrive. I take pictures of the smaller planes as they arrive, so that I have everything set the way I want for the arrival of the KLM 747.

Some people, with better eyes than mine (or binoculars) suddenly say, "There it is." Of course it is big, blue and has four engines (though it is not the only four engine jet to land here - the Airbus 340 also has four engines). I take several photographs. However, when I look at them I realize that the 747 was a little bigger than I allowed for. As it was right over the beach, it was too big for the zoom setting I had and the nose and tail cones are not in the photograph. Nonetheless, I am happy with the results.

I stay and get a few more photographs when one of the woman from Lithuania asks me if I got pictures of the 747. Yes. They didn't and wanted to know if I would share mine with them. Yes. She gets my e-mail address and I get her cabin number. She is going to send me an e-mail from home and ask me to e-mail it to her. However, this is a 24 mega pixel camera and it creates a ten megabyte file. While a ten megabyte file can be e-mailed, I've actually got 21 photographs of the KLM 747 (the camera can be set to take several pictures per second) and that is too much to e-mail. I bring blank discs with me and I'll copy the photographs to a disc and give it to them.

They are heading back now and I figure I can save some money and join them, so I do. Back on the ship I copy some stingray photographs, some ship photographs, a few of the other planes I photographed and of course all the KLM 747 photographs to the disc and find their cabin. She wants to pay me for the disc, but I refuse the offer (the disc only cost me fifty cents).

Approaching Tortola ...

Approaching St. Kitts ...



Well-Known Member
Saturday, January 11 - Day at sea

Well, today I'll get to watch the playoff games. They are all late games, especially since we are one hour ahead of East Coast time, so I'm going to sleep in, walk around the ship a bit, take a few sea day photographs, do a little swimming, work on this, sort through some of photographs and then watch the games in the late afternoon and early evening.

There is nothing special going on around the ship, but I do see a rainbow and get a few good pictures of it. Mostly though I just walk around the ship long enough for my cabin steward to do his thing and then I watch TV for a bit. After lunch I finally do a little swimming and then come back to the cabin to dry off and work on this for a while. I put the wet swim suit out on the chair on the balcony so it will catch some of the afternoon sun and dry off so I don't have to pack a wet bathing suit tomorrow.

I did catch up with my cabin steward long enough to give him my WOW card. He has done a good job and he is always greets me with a smile when I see him. He was very appreciative. Finally when the games come on I get my football fix. The top seeds won, and the Seahawks are looking very good. My friend is a 49er fan and I'll be at his house for the NFC championship game. It should be a good game.

Approaching Dominica ...

Approaching Antigua ...



Well-Known Member
One last photograph of the fish in Antigua ...

Sunday, January 12 - Day at sea

Today is another day of football. The games are all in the afternoon today. I'm up in time for some sunrise photographs. Not great sunrise photographs, but not bad. As I walk around I see a ship off in the distance. It has a strange shape. Could it be the NCL Epic? I take a few photographs and hopefully I'll be able to enlarge them enough to read the ship's name. A short time later I run into the captain who is taking a morning stroll around the ship. I ask him if he saw the ship on the port side and he says yes. I ask him if it was the Epic and he says that it looked like the Epic, but he hasn't been on the bridge yet, so he can not confirm it. I was able to enlarge the photograph enough to confirm that it was the NCL Epic.

I also take some time to get a few more day at sea pictures. Then after lunch I head back to my cabin to find out who will be playing for the conference championships. No real surprises today. Even though San Francisco was a low seed, the 49ers had the same record as Carolina. It is just the Seahawks had a better record, so San Francisco was in the playoffs as a wildcard team. Denver is looking pretty good too. I think Manning might be able to beat Brady this year. We will find out next week.

Unfortunately, after the games are over, it is time to pack. I don't finish before it is time to go to dinner. But fortunately I do have everything organized, so that packing after dinner is quick and I get my luggage outside before the deadline.

I actually considered going to the buffet tonight, as I was not interested in sitting through a slow dinner tonight. However, I did not want anyone to think I was skipping out on tipping, so I attend dinner in the main dining room . This is the only cruise where I had pre-paid tips. Though I purchased the cruise about eleven months in advance, the only dining option at that time was My Time Dining, which requires pre-paid gratuities. I switched to late seating after final payment. In this case it worked out well for me, as it meant a smaller onboard account, which I appreciated this time. However, I still prefer to pay the gratuities when they are earned, not in advance.

And speaking of dinner, I never knew who would show up. The first night there were five of us and we never had more than four for the rest of the cruise. Twice there was only one, and since I then moved to a nearby table, twice there was actually zero. The woman I met the first evening never showed up after Sunday night's dinner. I later saw her sitting at a different table.

Some fun ship facts ...

Some short videos ...











Sweden Unleased - Special Contributor
Great review and wonderful photos, Zef! :doubleup:

Legend seems to be in good shape, pity with no forward view from Viking Crown though. I usually enjoy being up there watching during sail away.
Good to know about the balconies on deck 6 as deck 6 may be a better choice than deck 7 so one can look directly down at the water (if not having a suite of course).

Legend will sail the Baltic sea from Stockholm this summer.

I looked through the photos from St Marteen, but couldn't find one where you looked straight up at one of the 747's... :biggrin:



The Euro Connection Special Contributor
Really nice review with photos, thank you for that!
Yes, the ship really looks very nice. Really could sail with it some day.