My son and I recently had a chance to go on two cruises, one with Carnival, and the other with Princess. I have decided to review them separately, and then give a side by side comparison of them, for those looking to take similar cruises.
The cruise we took with Carnival was aboard the Legend, to Fiji and New Caledonia, over 11 nights.
The condition of the ship is atrocious, and we never felt completely safe. There were many times we seriously considered disembarking early and simply flying home. There are major safety issues with this ship, if you decide to travel on the Carnival Legend, please be careful. There are smashed windows, rust inside, and an overall grubby feeling to everything, but the biggest safety issue however is the outside railings. They have, at certain intervals, gates in the railings, and these are secured, not with huge safety locks as one might think, not even with a padlock, but with a barrel bolt. Yep, the very thing keeping you from opening the gate and jumping or toppling overboard is a very unsafe barrel bolt. That anyone can open. I passed by some kids playing with it! Luckily their mum was watching and was able to avert a disaster, but seriously!? Carnival Cruises can you say lawsuit waiting to happen?!
The stateroom we had was very dated, with numerous issues. The wardrobe doors didn’t shut properly, which isn’t a problem on land, but at sea all you hear all night long is the thud, thud, thud of the door as the boat rocks! The beds were very old, and one of them was on a permanent slope towards the floor. The pillows were incredibly uncomfortable, and no variations of soft or hard, they were all the same. We also had paint peeling, drawers slightly warped, and other cosmetic issues. The big issue I had with this room however, was the layout. The room is essentially a rectangle, the bathroom is tucked into one corner, and the door opens straight into the bedroom, shining the light onto the bed. Big design flaw.
The best thing about cruising, so I have been told, is the food. Sadly, this is not the case on the Carnival Legend, where the food is bland, tasteless, monotonous, and, if you can find something to eat you are lucky! The food has a very heavy Asian influence, and everything is very heavily spiced. There is one restaurant onboard, Truffles, which is not open every day. There are essentially three options for mains, a chicken schnitzel with chips or mashed potato; grilled steak with chips or mashed potato; or a beef and mushroom pie with chips or mashed potato. Riveting stuff. Sides consist of glazed carrot chunks, chips, baked potato, mashed potato, or green beans in a vinaigrette. The dessert we tried was horrible, consisting of flavours that should never be mixed together.
If you don’t want to eat in the restaurant, there are other options. There is a Guy’s Burger Joint aboard, we ate there once, and it was so bad we left our plate untouched save for a bite or two. There is a taco bar, although the only serve soft tacos, not the hard shell ones. My son ate there once and said it was ok. There is a 24 hour pizza bar, and although it is very hit or miss as to how burnt or raw yours will be, the pizza is mostly edible.
And then you come to the most confusing buffet I have ever seen. First off, it does not flow in any logical manner, everything is sectioned off, so you constantly need to line up and quite often miss parts altogether. My son loves a good buffet, unfortunately for him, this was not a good buffet. What was meant to be hot wasn’t, and what was meant to be cold wasn’t. Again the food was boring, and all the same. There was no usual buffet suspects, and the lines were insane! There was one roast meat on offer at any time, unlike most buffets giving a variety, and the dessert here was just tragic, and always on the burnt side. Weird.
The Swirls ice cream bar was just a help yourself soft serve, and every time we went past it was filthy. What really struck me though was the obvious lack of any fruit and vegetables onboard. In Australia, we have vegetables or a salad with every dinner, and most cooked lunches. And fruit or fruit salad several times a day. So to be without any fruit or vegetables for so long was really quite hard.
The staff on the Carnival Legend were, with the exception of a few, quite rude and disinterested. They are obviously not bight on customer service training. We had Monis and Ernest as room stewards, which was fine. I think they did the best they could have, obviously it is not their fault the room is in need of repairs. Our waiter was Ari and he was quite lovely, always on top of his section and what the tables needed.
The people at Guest Services were completely useless, no matter what the question was, they had no answer. Very frustrating!
This was literally the most boring two weeks of our life, there is nothing to do on this cruise ship. I found it quite baffling that as a cruise line that claims to be family fun, most of the activities are for the over 18 group. What are you supposed to do on a family holiday? Dump your kids in a kids club and then have fun by yourself? Weird, and not what I would consider a family holiday. There are numerous bars and a casino, and they offer two stage shows each night. There are endless games of trivia, and a very small library. There is a tiny games arcade (costs between AUD$1.25 and AUD$3.50 per game), a couple of ping pong tables, a basketball court and a mini golf course. Carnival Legend claims to have a Build A Bear Workshop aboard, what they really have is twice a cruise they set up a stand for Build a Bear. The price is exactly the same as it is shoreside, the only exclusive item is a Carnival t-shirt for your bear. Seriously, skip the queue and do it in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide or any of the other locations we have in Australia.
The cost of the Carnival Legend was really expensive, when you consider it is a no frills bottom of the heap budget cruise. These prices are the total amount I paid, for two adults, as my son is no longer considered a child, despite only just having turned 13.
The cruise itself was AUD$2000. Knowing what I know now, I would never consider even paying half of that amount. Nothing is included in that amount, not even the movies on your TV are included, those need to be purchased at $5 each. Rip off! Four shore excursions was AUD$459.92. I purchased the Bottomless Bubbles drink package for AUD$140.25. and an internet package for AUD$229, which I think was money well spent as at least then we had something to do in the form of YouTube and Facebook.
I had ordered Faster To The Fun, for an extra AUD$175, and what a rip off! The room wasn’t ready until nearly 8pm, as well as the luggage, and every time we went to our dedicated queue at guest services, the teller wasn’t there, so we had to queue and wait for a regular teller to become free. I went there to book my shore excursions, which apparently you can do, only to be told by Catalina, who said she was the manager of guest services, that I was unable to do that here, and would need to queue up in the shore excursions queue to be served! As it was 11:30am and the queue was insane, we didn’t bother. Numerous issues with this optional package, if you are thinking of getting it, don’t bother!
On top of that, I was overcharged AUD$534.50. When I approached the Guest Services desk, I was told that there was no one onboard who can handle a complaint, but that after the cruise finished I would be sent a post cruise survey, and could put all the details in there and ask for an adjustment. Surprise surprise, when I did that I was told that there is nothing they can do, as I should have raised the issue while I was onboard! So in other words, I won’t see that money again.
There were so many things about the Carnival Legend that simply horrified me, and made me feel quite unsafe while aboard, and it is this reason alone that I would never consider travelling with Carnival Legend again.
The fact that there is no customer service, and getting a refund on money that they overcharged me is apparently impossible, is the reason I would never consider Carnival Cruises again. I’m afraid I am old fashioned like that, I like my customer service customer focused.