Can you believe that this was our first cruise for 2018? I know, we find that hard to believe but there you go.
So without any bla bla lets get right into it.
Day 1729 – 30th November 2018
This cruise wasn’t planned long in advance, in fact, I booked it back in September.
I check multiple cruise sites nearly every day and I found a balcony cabin on a guarantee basis which means the cheapest category of balcony cabin without actually choosing your cabin. The cabin choice is left to the cruise company. This is the best way to go if you are not overly worried where your cabin will be.
EO Tip – Want the best lowest price for a Balcony? Then a guaranteed cabin status is a way to go. If you are particularly concerned about the position of your cabin then this cabin grade is NOT good for you. And you should, therefore, pick your cabin at the price advertised.
This was going to be a special cruise regardless of our cabin, this cruise we were joined by Mr B & Sue-Ellen (Moni’s business bestie) who are both first-time cruisers.
I gave them a copy of my 101 cruising tips so they knew more than the average 1st-time cruiser which is a must read if you’re considering a cruise vacation soon.
Our 9-night Carnival Legend itinerary
- Sydney depart @6.30 pm
- At Sea
- At Sea
- Noumea 8.00 am – 5.00 pm
- Mare 8.00 am – 5.00 pm
- Lifou 8.00 am – 5.00 pm
- Isle of Pines 8.00 am – 5.00 pm
- At Sea
- At Sea
- Sydney arrive @7.00 am
We arrived early into Sydney from Adelaide. This is not our normal practice as we would generally stay a night before each cruise to avoid any hiccups that could occur, but this time to save on a hotel for the four of us we took the chance.
I’ll make a post for each day, so bear with me as I’m uploading photos which takes a while. By the way, if you can guess who many photos I actually took during the 9-night cruise I will send you a copy of my 101 cruise tips eBook. (closest by 50 photos)
Carnival Legend Sydney Embarkation
Day 1 Sydney Embarkation
Thankfully the flights were on time and we made it to the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay around 10.30 am. The taxi from Sydney airport to the OPT cost a whopping $84, between four is not too bad but for a couple that’s crazy. I’ll let you know a cheaper way to get to the OPT later in the posts.
We dropped off our suitcases at the Carnival collection point acknowledging that we didn’t have any alcohol hidden in them 🙂
When you check in online with Carnival and prepare all your documents you can choose a boarding time slot. The earliest slot at the time I checked in and completed our documents was 12.30 – 1.00 pm.
This was perfect for us as we were meeting a friend for coffee and catch up that we’d met on our cruise from Honolulu to Sydney back nearly a year ago.
Robyn recommended the patisserie cafe just up the road from the terminal where you can sit outside with a view to the cruise ship.
We all enjoyed our coffees and chats for a while until it was time for us to board. Robyn wished us a fabulous voyage and waved us goodbye. But not before a group photo…
At the entrance, a man asked us for a check in slip… I thought it was what we had printed, but not the case.
Carnival has a new procedure that goes as follows… In amongst the crowd of people was a young man, not wearing a bright top or anything, just plain. You must find him and show him your printed out boarding pass. He will then scan it and give you a small slip of paper like a receipt. You need that piece of paper to get past the man at the entrance to the terminal check-in area.
Don’t lose that receipt (which really becomes your new Boarding Pass) as you need to hand it over at the check-in desk upstairs where you will have your photo taken and method of payment approved.
From here you go through security… After 18 cruises this is the first time that our power board was confiscated (I collected it on the final morning). Lucky we have universal travel plugs as this power board is for foreign plugs!
The security lady was rather busy writing receipts for all the confiscated items.
Finally, we could walk on up the gangway to board.
All in all the process was very smooth, not too congested and no long lines waiting at this time.
Balcony Cabins 5110 & 8227
The entrance to the cabin corridors was closed with signs saying that cabins would be ready from 1.30 pm. We took the lift to deck 9 where the lunch buffet was open and had something to eat while sitting at the very back near the Serenity bar. In fact, we ate most of our lunchtime meals out here as it was the least crowded place and we always found space for the four of us.
Mr B & Sue-Ellen had a cabin on deck 5 right up to the front and our cabin was on deck 8 towards the back. Of the two cabins, ours was probably in a better location. Mr B noted that some noise from kids in the corridor could be heard at times which is due to the location of the kids’ area at the very front. Also a bit more movement here. Nothing that upset the guys which was good to hear.
As you can see, this cabin is very close to the front of the ship almost directly below the bridge. The balcony is extended out with a sloping front glass panel.
Both of our balcony cabins are classed as extended balcony cabins BF. Deck 8 is below the Lido deck and could have some noise from above. We didn’t notice it much but now and then you could hear some movement of furniture or something.
Every day the around evening time, the ‘Fun Times’ is delivered to the cabin. This is Carnivals’ daily events program which lists all that is going on and opening times of bar, restaurants shops etc.
Cabin 8227 is set back in quite a bit so you can’t actually see along the side of the ship looking forward or back. It’s in a block of 10 cabins, and being on deck 8 there is the roof overhang from the Lido which offers shade and protection from rain depending on how the weather is. Or you could say that it blocks out too much sunshine 🙂
Anyway, it didn’t affect us as we are pretty much happy just to have a balcony cabin. We don’t spend lots of time on the balcony but we do use it. The main reason we want a balcony cabin is for the fresh sea air in the cabin. All the other stuff is just a bonus.
Our cabin steward introduced himself and we saw him pretty much every day whereas the guys only met their steward the second to last day!
The cabins are definitely outdated when comparing to the newer ships (pretty obvious statement) but even after a refit not much has changed. A small flat screen tv replaced the deeper ones but still sits on a protruding shelf. The safe is very small and would not fit a laptop computer, a kindle yes.
The air conditioning didn’t work the first day but was fixed from then on. The bed was comfortable and we slept sound as always when at sea.
Plenty of wardrobe space and cupboards. An empty bar fridge. USB charge points at the bedside.
The bathroom very functional and an old school shower curtain. The steward kept the cabin clean and up to date. We did have to ask for the evening turn down (we may have not understood Jerry when he introduced himself) but once I mentioned it, each night the lights were on etc.
On closer inspection, the cabin could do with a much better clean…
The rest of the ship we can discuss as the days go by.
We found a pod for the girls and then Mr B & I did some exploring of the ship only to return and find the girls on cocktails already 🙂
We watched as the ropes were one by one let go until the final one set us free from the security of the solid dock allowing the ship to do what it does best and ease out of Sydney harbour and cruise the oceans.
Reversing almost to a point where you felt you could touch the harbour bridge before a smooth turn in front of the Sydney Opera house.
The girls had settled into ‘pod life’ as we named it, at the adult only Serenity.
Then a steady glide out towards the open sea leaving behind the skyline on fire from the setting sun, oh the bliss of cruising.
We enjoyed the sunny warm air at the Serenity until the rays had all but gone and the lights of the ship were all that could be seen.
The 1st Evening
Our decision to choose the late sitting for dinner was perfect as this would allow us to take in the sunsets and also not feel rushed on port days etc.
EO Tip – Make sure you check the sunset times in your cruise region and your port of call schedule to get the most out of your day and plan your dinner appropriately.
Dinner in Truffles Restaurant
A quick freshen up before dinner in the Truffles dining room on deck 2. The queue to get in was long, as is often the case on the first evening until everyone knows where their table is. Eventually making it to the front of the line to be swiftly escorted to our dinner table.
We had a table for four (I wasn’t sure what we’d get as I didn’t specify) which was not far from the entrance to the Truffles restaurant. Last time on the Carnival Spirit we sat at a table for 8 at the very back overlooking the wake of the ship so this was a nice change.
Our restaurant team of three introduced themselves and continued their duties. Dinner was pretty good indeed and the menu and photos follow.
Tonight’s show was a once only and lucky for us was at 9.30 pm. As a rule, there are two identical shows one at 7.30 the next at 9.30 (obviously open to change). It was a ‘welcome aboard show’ which showcased the singers and dancers.
From experience, some of these show theatres and productions can be fantastic or terrible like a bunch of screaming cats. I’m pleased to say that on this cruise the production cast and sound & lighting technician were fantastic, one of the best we have enjoyed.
A Carnival cruise would not be complete without its comedy club, and tonight after the show at 10.30 the comedian was Jacques Barrett, a true blue Aussie with a show titled “Straya!”. We sat in the front row and had a serious laugh for nearly the entire show. It was rated 18+ and a dose of F-bombs sprayed the lounge.
That was day 1 of our Carnival Legend 9-night South Pacific cruise and I will write up a post for each day and go into some more detail on various areas of the ship plus the ports of call so stay tuned.
By now the four of us were pretty whacked and slept like babies till morning.