The Carnival Legend

Cruise Ship Review by Kris Krenz, MCC, PAK-N-GO Cruises and Tours

Joining Carnival Cruise Lines' fleet is the third sister in the Spirit class of vessels. In 2001 the Carnival Spirit was introduced and in early 2002 came the Carnival Pride. The third was named the Carnival Legend by British Actress Judi Dench on August 21, 2002. The Carnival Legend was the first Carnival ship to offer a series of European cruises before her trans-Atlantic and arrival to the passenger ship terminal in New York City. It was in New York City the same day she pulled into the harbor that PAK-N-GO Cruises and Tours arrived.

The Carnival Legend in NYC - Photo by K Krenz

*(This beautiful high quality photo is available for purchase in an 8"x12" signed glossy print. $35 including shipping and handling. NJ residents add 6% sales tax. Email us below for details. Note: Red copyright does not appear on photo.)

On Sept. 20, 2002, as we pulled into the passenger ship terminal at 55th Street and 12th Avenue, we noticed the familiar red, white and blue colors of the Carnival Cruise Line fleet. Most prominent was the whale tail funnel, which stood out high among the thirteen passenger decks.

Built in Finland at the Kvaerner Masa-Yards, the Carnival Legend is 963 feet in length, 106 feet in the beam (width) and well over 200 feet from the keel to the mast featuring 13 passenger decks. She is a panamax vessel listed at 88,500 GRT and has a total guest capacity of 2,124 and a full crew complement of 930. Five passenger decks house staterooms with balconies. 80% of all cabins onboard have an oceanview. 80% of the oceanview staterooms have balconies. This means that a majority of the cabins have private balconies. A prominent feature of these balcony cabins is that cabins located on corners where guest privacy may be compromised, the designers thought it important enough to add privacy barriers. There are other cruise ships in the Royal Caribbean/Celebrity, Holland America Line and the Princess fleet that don't offer these partitions.

 

 

 

The Colossus Atrium.

It is here that you begin to learn the theme of this ship and the meaning of the word "Legend."

Photo by K Krenz

When we first boarded the ship we entered via the Legend Lobby, which houses the Colossus Atrium. It is here that you begin to learn the theme of this ship and the meaning of the word "Legend." Once again the interior décor is a Joe Farcus brain child. Joe Farcus was also onboard our sailing along with Carnival Corporation's CEO Micky Arison (It is Micky Arison who is responsible for the six operating companies of Carnival Corp. which includes Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Windstar Cruises, Costa Cruises, Seabourn and Cunard.) and other Carnival Corp. VIPs.

The Colossus Atrium is the largest Atrium found onboard this ship. This atrium spans 9 decks. It is here that you will find glassed-in elevators that offer an impressive view of the atrium as you ride up or down. As you rise up from the lower level you will see a massive painting depicting one of the 7 wonders of the world the "Colossus of Rhodes," a "Legend."

It doesn't take long to find out that there are other lounges onboard named after "Legends." Medusa's Lair (the disco), Unicorn Café, Atlantis Lounge and Club Merlin Casino just to name a few. I think you can get the hint as to the direction of the "Carnival Legend's" named theme. Joe Farcus stated that he wanted to interpret "Legend" as broadly as possible. While some lounges reflect on the mythological, other lounges reflect on more modern legends like Satchmo's, a jazz club featuring the great trumpeter Louis Armstrong. Then there is the Holmes' Library, paying homage to Sherlock Holmes or The Follies show lounge, a legendary tribute to the Roaring 20's. And the "Legend" continues...

The Enchanted Forest - Photo by K Krenz

A new use for space -- One of the most odd and unique features found onboard was the "Enchanted Forest." I think this would be a place rarely frequented by the cruise passenger, in fact many onboard didn't know that it existed. I predict that this may end up being a great hideaway for the teens or that quiet place to get away from shipboard activity to read. The "Enchanted Forest" is a long narrow passage forward on promenade deck directly below the balcony seating of "The Follies," the main show lounge onboard. This space is like the open concession areas below the stands found in many sports complexes, but only in a smaller version. It is here that you enter a faux forest with seating areas complete with tree stump coffee tables and large round windows that look out over the ocean. This area starts promenade deck forward on the starboard side (right side) of the ship, cuts across the ship and continues on the port side (left side) or vice versa. To walk through the "Enchanted Forest" from beginning to end has to be a 300 foot or more stroll. From the mid point of the "Enchanted Forest," you can take a flight of stairs up one level ending up in Gigabytes Arcade, which is full of electronic video games, air hockey tables and more. It is one flight above the arcade to Noah's Arc, the activity center for younger children. I found the stairwells in this are to be much steeper than found in other areas onboard almost reminding me of the stairwells found in the crew areas. Is it possible that these areas were originally designed as crew spaces?

Also forward on the Carnival Legend is the "Follies," where the feature shows take place. The Follies spans over three decks in height. While smaller than the show lounges found on Carnival's Destiny Class of ship, the Follies has many of the same features like a hydraulic orchestra pit in front of the stage, gradual rise seating on the lower level and unobstructed stadium style seating in the balcony. This show room also offers easy access to move about and features enough seating to accommodate all passengers during the evenings two feature performances. The décor of the follies takes on a Roaring 20's theme. I didn't quite catch that theme as I thought I was looking at castle turrets on either side of the stage reminding me more of a Cinderella's storybook castle theme, but we all interpret art differently.

 

 

 

The beautiful lighted glass entrance to the "Firebird Lounge"

Photo by K Krenz

After the show if you are looking for more late night entertainment you don't have to walk too far. Found one deck below the Follies is the "Firebird Lounge." The intimate Firebird Lounge is where we sat awhile and listened to a lounge band play covers by Frank Sinatra and others greats. It is also in this lounge where the infamous "R" Rated Adult humor shows are held late at night. The Firebird Lounge is the most colorful of all lounges and takes on an enameled box look, there are images from the Russian story of a seamstress turned into a firebird by an evil sorcerer throughout the lounge. The color scheme is very bright in reds, gold, yellows and other brilliant colors. A spacious dance floor is located in front of the stage.

Remaining forward on the Carnival Legend but moving up to decks 9 and 10 is where the "Fountain of Youth Spa and Gym" are located. The theme here is almost eclectic taking on a post-ancient/modern Mediterranean theme. It is here that you find the exercise equipment, the Helen of Troy Beauty Salon, steam room, spa, get a massage, take an aerobics class and more. Because of the glass walls and the high forward position you will find some the best views onboard the Carnival Legend. Forward just outside the spa and gym on decks 9 and 10 and up through decks 11 (Sports Deck) and 12 (Sky Deck) you will find a narrow observation area or walkways with wind breaks. It is from this area where the cruiser will find the best views when sailing in or out of port. An observation lounge with ceiling to floor windows would have been more appropriate somewhere in this area. I, like many cruisers, don't necessarily use the spa or gym. When I cruise. I want to take some "R & R" time to put my feet up and watch the world pass by. There is something very awe-inspiring about a bridge eye view from a forward observation lounge and watching the ship sail into the endless horizon of the ocean. If I could rebuild this ship, I would add a unique sky lounge.

Moving aft from the Sky deck and down to the Lido deck is the first of the three pools onboard not including the kiddy pool. The first pool would be the Camelot Pool. Continuing aft mid ship is the Avalon Pool and Spa. A sliding glass dome will cover the Avalon Pool and Spa area in inclement weather. There is also a stage in this area for bands and other activities. Behind the open stage there is a beautiful large mosaic of a maiden holding a unicorn. This is one of the many notable works of art found onboard. It is in this area where you will find the first of the casual food stations a full hamburger and hotdog station. Continuing aft you will enter into the Unicorn Café.

The Unicorn Café is probably one of the best thought out casual food buffet areas I've come across onboard a ship. Instead of a long buffet line, which has a tendency to bog down when people can't make up their minds, the buffet area is made up of shorter buffets far apart. This equates to quicker self-service and less time spent waiting in line. Great Concept! The buffets are themed meaning that you choose the type of cuisine you happen to be in the mood for at that moment. If one of these buffets does not satisfy your taste, then you must be a very difficult person to please.

 

 

The "Asian Corner" which was located in the "Unicorn Cafe."

Photo by M Krenz

Buffets located in the Unicorn Café are the Asian Corner, Table of the Nations, Deli, The Rotisserie, Pizza Parlor and Salad Bar. There are also beverage stations and a dessert area. The Asian Corner serves up a number of Asian delicacies from soup to stir fries. Instead of "Soup De Jour," The Table of the Nations serves a "Country De Jour," featuring flavors of that particular region. On our sailing we had a wonderful Indian Buffet serving lamb with curry, rice dishes, Indian bread and more. On another day we were served British cuisine featuring fried oysters, bangers and mash, shepard's pie etc.. The Rotisserie serves up BBQ southern style featuring chicken, ribs, steak, etc. The Deli is a New York-style deli, serving hot and cold sandwiches and deli side dishes. The Unicorn Café is also home to the nightly "Seaview Bistro," Carnival's alternative dinnertime service featuring beef, chicken, seafood, pasta, salads and other dishes served in a casual more relaxed atmosphere. In the mornings a casual breakfast buffet here offers many choices including a full custom omelet station.

Once your food selection is made at one of the food buffets, there is plenty of quality seating to be found (this is designated as a 1,000 seat restaurant) many featuring an ocean view. If you want an ice cream cone or sundae for desert or need that mid afternoon ice cream fix just walk aft out of the Unicorn Café and help yourself. Here aft on Lido you will find the Ice Cream Parlor, the third pool (the Unicorn Pool) and the unicorn bar. You will also find lounging areas and bars around all the pools.

A Carnival Fun Ship would not be a fun ship without their trademark water slide, and what a water slide they have! The slide is found aft just two decks up from the Lido Deck. Near the entrance of the slide there is a wadding pool for the little ones. The water slide is a slide only. It ends on a flat level rather instead of a plunge in a pool.

 

 

 

 

Looking aft near the water slide.

Photo by K Krenz

*(This beautiful high quality photo is available for purchase in an 8"x12" signed glossy print. $35 including shipping and handling. NJ residents add 6% sales tax. Email us below for details. Note: Red copyright does not appear on photo.)

Most of the public areas are found topside or on the Promenade (Deck 2) and Atlantic (Deck 3) Decks. The main restaurant, lounges, casino, chapel, information desks and shops are all located on these two decks.

Medusa's Lair is a two-deck dance club and disco. Busts of Medusa with snakes in her hair grace the walls. On many of the snakes their eyes glow in the darkness of the lair. Ornate silver chairs scattered among the other pieces of lounge furniture may not seem fit, but it works well. One wall by the dance floor is made up of many TV's that work independently or in unison to create one moving work of video.

The Atlantis Lounge and Odyssey Lounge are comfortably appointed and fitting of their names. These lounges are great places to gather and relax before your evening dinner. The Atlantis Lounge has many couches, comfortable chairs and a number of overwhelming pieces of art. The Roundtable Room, which is located across from the Odyssey Lounge can be used for private meetings or as a card and games room. A number of multi-media hooks and partitions allows for one large meeting group or hosting a few smaller meeting groups at the same time.

 

 

Medusa's Lair

Photo by K Krenz

Billie's Piano Bar is a club where you can request your favorite song and even sing along if you dare. Billie's is named after the legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday. I really didn't catch that theme at all. When I saw the large piano bar here, I was thinking more the "Piano Man" Billy Joel. I don't at all associate Billie Holiday with a sing-a-long piano bar. Sorry Mr. Farcus. Satchmo's Club looks like a run down city makeshift dive with plaster falling off the walls exposing the brick, steel rafters exposed on the ceiling, ceiling fans and wooden chairs. Satchmo's Club is another place where you can listen to a band and dance the night away. Next-door is where the Dream Team Bar is located, a place where you can watch your favorite sporting events. The Dream Team Bar features many pictures of sports legends.

If rolling the bones is your thing then you want to check out Club Merlin Casino. The décor of this casino is fitting of the enchanted forest mentioned earlier. This sizable casino offers plenty of slot machines and gaming tables for all cruisers to test their luck.

The Holmes' Library also doubles as the Internet Café. More fake books next to a few skulls for show lined the shelves than real volumes. Outside the Holmes Library is a two deck fountain called the Legends' Café Fountain. This fountain is a beautifully done ornate work of modern art making good use of electric lights and glass. A stairwell around the fountain leads you down to the Legends Café. At the Legends' Café, you can purchase a specialty cup of Java for a nominal fee along with maybe a large warm fresh backed chocolate chip cookie or other confectionery. Nearby is the Trump card room.

Seeming to be the central gathering spot onboard this ship is the Legend Lobby. Located at the lower level of the Colossus Atrium. There is a large seating area and bar. Behind the bar is a raised stage where a band or piano player is featured at a various times. A beautiful inlayed dance floor catches your eye from any deck if you dare look down from above. The interesting spiral starburst pattern on the floor caught my eye before I noticed the giant Colossus of Rhodes painted high up on the atrium wall.

There is one main dining room onboard called Truffles Restaurant. Joe Farcus named Truffles after the legendary delicacy. This dining room is elegantly appointed with murals duplicating the patterns of exclusive china. China hutches full of elegant dishes are located throughout the two levels of this dining room. Classical art statues grace the supports throughout Truffles. The seating areas are made up of booths and tables. Most seating areas will give you a view of the ocean or if seated on the upper level a panoramic view of the lower dining room or the ocean. This is not a boring but elegant dining room and by any means was not deserving of the nightly "Rah, Rah" shows. (Shows where the dining staff changes into costumes and dances around to deafening canned music. Save this entertainment for the show lounge.)

Truffles

Photo by K Krenz

Just off of the lower level of Truffles is the "Private Club." The "Private Club" is a dining area that can be used by a large group or for other shipboard special occasions. I wonder if nightly entertainment by the dining staff is included here?

If you choose to opt for a special night out to celebrate a special occasion, there is a dining alternative, "The Golden Fleece." The Golden Fleece is a reservations only fine dining venue. For a $25 per person service charge the Golden Fleece restaurant is described in a Carnival Cruise Line press release as a "steakhouse-style" supper club offering prime aged beef, along with a Carnival exclusive -- crab claws from Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant. The two level restaurant and lounge is located directly below the red tinted skylight base of the ship's funnel. The Golden Fleece restaurant is inspired by the tale of Jason and the Argonauts. One of the entrances to the Golden Fleece is not for the weak at heart. This restaurant is located on the top level of the 9 deck high Colossus Atrium. A winding suspended clear staircase will take you up one level to this restaurant. What an impressive view!

Staterooms on the Legend range from the 185-square foot standard inside cabins to the 225-square foot oceanview cabins featuring a balcony. A variety of suites are also available. Most rooms feature twin beds that can be combined to a king size bed, and some of the staterooms are adjoining for families. These are popular and usually sell out first. The décor in staterooms is a far cry from Carnival's past. The colors are peachy and bright. Tasteful artwork graces the walls. The bathrooms are spacious and functional. An amenities basket/dish with bath essentials is also found in the bathroom when you arrive. The showers are not cramped and house a shampoo dispenser and body wash dispenser. One you learn how the shower functions you will become comfortable using it. I did notice that Carnival has shrunk their bars of soap down a bit. You may want to pack your own if you prefer a larger bar of soap. Found in the staterooms are mini-bars, hairdryers (not in the bathroom but in a vanity drawer in our cabin), a 19" TV (featuring movies, news and more), phone, safe, large narrow closets, adequate lighting, seating area, night stands and more. The closets may not be large enough to house your luggage, but there is sufficient space under the bed to stow the suitcases. One odd feature was the knob or lack of knobs to open the drawers and closets. Instead a thin rope loop is used. Over all the cabins are spacious, comfortable and functional.

Most notable no matter where you are onboard are the many pieces of art. Artwork found onboard ranges from modern to classical. Every corner of the ship is crammed with some form of artwork. Each time the cruiser strolls around the ship they are bound to notice something different each time. I found myself slowing down to take notice and admire, rather than run from one location to get to the next.

 

 

 

Private balconies onboard the Carnival Legend

Photo by K Krenz

*(This beautiful high quality photo is available for purchase in an 8"x12" signed glossy print. $35 including shipping and handling. NJ residents add 6% sales tax. Email us below for details. Note: Red copyright does not appear on photo.)

Beautiful colored glass vases, lighting fixtures and more are found everywhere. The starboard stairwell entrance to the Firebird Lounge was one of the more interesting examples of glass sculpture and lighting. The chandelier in the Unicorn Café was also another beautiful example of colored glass.

The areas around the stairwells and elevators were busy from the colorful carpeting to the walls through to the ceiling. While you are waiting in these areas your eyes will roam around in admiration.

Joe Farcus seems to use one basic element that he ties in from public space to public space. Found as stairways railings, railings in public spaces, in fountains or partitions are pewter colored urns both large and small. This was the only feature that I didn't find to work well with the other art. My opinion is that if the urns were more of a natural clay color they would have tied a little but more in with the Classical Theme. When traveling around the Mediterranean I never once saw a pewter urn. But again who am I to criticize as I respect Joe Farcus and his artistic license and interpretation.

The Carnival Legend is a beautiful addition to the Carnival Cruise Line fleet. This ship has something to offer everyone. So many cruisers are critical of the Carnival product because they feel that the product is inferior to other popular cruise products. Each class of ship that Carnival Cruise Line has offers the cruiser a different experience. To be honest I found the quality of the stateroom, food, and service to be on par with other cruise line brands that call themselves a premium product. My clients have told me the same. The "Spirit Class" ships are a new breed for Carnival Cruise Line and are their breakaway to let the world know that they know how to offer a premium cruise product.

Kris Krenz, MCC PAK-N-GO Cruises and Tours

More Photos of the Carnival Legend... to come

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