My Family Went on Cheap 7-Day Cruise, Not Worth It — Carnival Legend

The trip was fairly budget-friendly and ended up costing less than $3,500.

deck on cruise ship


We didn’t have trouble finding space to sit and enjoy the view when we were on the ship.

Lisa Galek


We paid just under $3,500 for our five-person, seven-day trip. Of course, that price doesn’t include gratuities or extras.

We did purchase two family-shore excursions, which cost extra and accounted for $494 of the total, but didn’t buy any special restaurant meals or drink packages that weren’t covered by our all-inclusive package.

The safety regulations changed between the time I booked in April and boarded in November.

hand sanitizer machine on carnival legend


Carnival had hand-sanitizing machines around the ship.

Lisa Galek


When I made our cruise reservations in April, Carnival required guests to provide proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test before sailing.

Then, in late October, I received an email from Carnival saying that “vaccines, proof of vaccination, and testing for unvaccinated guests are no longer required on cruises of 15 nights or less.”

I wasn’t thrilled with this update but hoped most of my fellow passengers were fully vaccinated like we were.

Carnival recommended wearing masks indoors on the ship, but they weren’t required, and few people wore them. However, dispensers of hand sanitizer were stationed around the boat, and we used them frequently.

The ship left from the Port of Baltimore and seemed to attract primarily local passengers seeking a quick and easy holiday vacation.

Carnival Legend exterior


I took my family of five on the Carnival Legend.

Lisa Galek


Our family drove about five-and-a-half hours from Cleveland, Ohio, to get on board in Baltimore, Maryland, so we also fell into that category.

Our family of five wouldn’t fit in one cabin, so I reserved two rooms.

carnival legend room one bed


My husband and I had our own cabin.

Lisa Galek


Believe it or not, my husband and I have never stayed in our own room on vacation, so we enjoyed a little taste of privacy in our adults-only space.

My kids were in a room that was right across the hall from us.

kids room on carnival legend


Our three kids had their own room.

Lisa Galek


The children  — ages 14, 11, and 8 — were close enough to reach if they needed my husband or me.

Our TV had two channels showing various movies.

tv with movie selections on carnival cruise


We could choose from two channels in our room.

Lisa Galek


Carnival Legend didn’t have a giant movie screen outside as some other cruise ships do, but our in-room TV featured a selection of movies that played on two channels throughout the day.

The highlight of our vacation was Thanksgiving Day.

carnival legend from the outside


Our cruise lasted a week.

Lisa Galek


We spent Thanksgiving at Princess Cays in the Bahamas. It’s a private resort on the island of Eleuthera, and Carnival provided an on-shore lunch and a lot of activities during the day.

We did our shore excursion in the morning and ate an all-inclusive barbecue meal on the beach in the afternoon.

shore excursion, beach with people in the water


The cruise stopped in popular spots like Nassau and Freeport.

Lisa Galek


Guests could also go swimming in the crystal-clear water, rent boats and gear, or just lie on the warm, sandy beach.

The Thanksgiving feast was in the same place where we had all our dinners: Truffles Restaurant, the ship’s main dining room.

dining room on carnival legend


Thanksgiving dinner was in Truffles Restaurant.

Lisa Galek


Initially, we were slotted into a late-dining spot every night at 7:45 p.m., but guest services moved us to 5:30 p.m. so that our kids didn’t have to eat so late.

One of my favorite things about cruising is trying unique foods. During this trip, I had escargots, alligator beignets, and frog legs. I’ve tried all these before, but I also got the kids to sample them this time.

My family members aren’t super picky eaters, so we ate breakfast and lunch on the lido deck during most of the sailing days.

guy's burger joint on legend


Guy’s Burger Joint was delicious and didn’t cost any extra money.

Lisa Galek


The lido deck featured a deli counter, a salad bar, a station serving Asian-inspired cuisine, a pizza place, and a classic lunch buffet.

There were also two specialty restaurants on the lido deck. Guy’s Burger Joint serves burgers and fries, and BlueIguana Cantina specializes in tacos and burritos. Both places delivered memorable bites without any out-of-pocket costs.

The Legend had two family pools, two water slides, and an adults-only area.

one of the family pools on carnival legend


My kids flocked to the family pool on warm days.

Lisa Galek


One family pool was outside and located in the mid-ship area. The other one had a retractable dome that made it possible to swim on cold or rainy days. When we left Baltimore, it was 30 degrees Fahrenheit, so we definitely got some icy weather on this trip.

The ship also had a Carnival Waterworks area with two waterslides. The large yellow slide was more traditional and twisty. My kids loved it. The green slide was a fast-paced drop slide. My kids refused to try it, but my husband went down it once, which was enough for him.

The Legend had Serenity, an adults-only area, which had an additional pool and seemed like a relaxing kid-free space.

My husband and I viewed this as a family trip, so we didn’t spend much time at the ship’s bars, clubs, and events for adults.

carnival legend bar


The Legend had plenty of nightlife options, but my husband and I didn’t spend much time at the bars or clubs.

Lisa Galek


This trip was about family, so my husband and I didn’t spend much time drinking alcohol or doing adult activities without our kids.

Carnival offered a free babysitting service called Camp Ocean, but my kids wanted nothing to do with it. On a cruise we took a few years ago, they cried every time we left them, so we didn’t even try on this trip.

Our family took advantage of the onboard activities posted on the Carnival HUB app.

Follies Main Lounge on legend


We could pop into shows and performances at the Follies Main Lounge.

Lisa Galek


There were more than 100 activities per day posted on the Carnival HUB app. One day, we watched an ice-carving demonstration. We also did a towel-folding class with our cruise director.

Our rooms were also near the Follies Main Lounge, making it easy to pop in for nightly shows with or without the kids.

We had a good time, but I wouldn’t book another journey on the Carnival Legend.

Lisa Galek on the beach


I enjoyed the warmth during our port days.

Lisa Galek


There were a lot of things to love about this vacation. We went from 30-degree Fahrenheit sweater weather to 80-degree beach weather — not a bad way to spend a week in late November.

Though the price was reasonable at roughly $100 per person per day, I didn’t think the cruise had enough unique amenities and ports of call to make it worth repeating the trip.

Still, Carnival Legend had a lot to offer for those near the Port of Baltimore searching for a simple, budget-friendly getaway.

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