Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Legendary Trip North to Alaska- The Carnival Legend 2016

10 Year Anniversary Cruise 2016
Carnival Legend

It was Legend... wait for it- dary!

In June 2016 Chris and I took a Alaskan Cruise aboard the Carnival Legend sailing out of Seattle, WA for our 10th Wedding Anniversary. This beautiful floating resort took us to the following destinations: 

Dawes Glacier, Endicott Arm Fjord, Alaska 
Skagway, Alasaka
Juneau, Alaska 
Ketchikan, Alasaka
Victoria, B.C., Canada 

The Carnival Legend... Our home away from home for the next 7 days! 

Chris and I have been on 7 other cruises prior to this one; 4 with Carnival, 2 with Royal Caribbean and 1 with Princess. This cruise was all about the destination as neither of us had been to Alaska. This will be a multiple entry blog about not only our 7 days at sea but a food blog, an updated Shore Excursion rating blog, a pictorial review of The Carnival Legend and a few more. Thank you SO MUCH to all my followers... without you the blog would not be as popular as it is today! Click on a link below to see day by day posts of our amazing Alaskan adventure! 

Pre-Trip Thoughts- Pre-Trip Jitters and Stress

Pre-Cruise and Post- Cruise Seattle Trip- North by Northwest

Seattle- Airing Our Dirty Laundry

Sea Day #1- North to Alaska

Glacier Cruising- Ice Ice Baby

Skagway, AK- What Goes Up, Must Come Down

Juneau, AK- The Last Great Race

Ketchikan, AK- Slugs, Slugs and More Slugs

Victoria, B.C., Canada- Sea Day or Port Day?

Disembarkation- Goodbye Alaska and #8... & Baseball Bucket-List
Once again, we owe all of these blessings to our Lord and Savior! He has truly blessed Chris and I, as well as our family! We currently have 4 more cruises booked and a few more after that on the horizon for the next 2+ years, with and without kids, and we are very excited to set sail once again.

Carnival Liberty- Christmas with the Kids- December 2016
 Carnival Dream- Bahamas 11th Anniversary Cruise  March 2017 
Carnival Breeze-Summer with the kids- Summer 2017
Carnival LibertyMY 35th Bday Celebration/ Girls Cruise-September 2017

NCL Pearl- 12th Anniversary and a new cruise line- March 2018

 Thank you so much for following along and until we meet again... 

Keep Calm and CRUISE ON!  

A Legendary Trip North to Alaska- Disembarkation

10 Year Anniversary Cruise 2016- Carnival Legend

Goodbye Alaska and #8 & Baseball Bucket-list
Seattle, WA
Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Goodnight Seattle... WE LOVE YOU! 

Our Alaskan cruise had come to an end and as I sat on the balcony watching the approach to Seattle I was humbled by what I had just experienced and the incredible beauty that is Alsaka and the Pacific Northwest. 

Our alarms went off at 5:30AM and we were up and zipping our suitcases for one last time. We made our way to the Lido buffet by 6AM and had one last made to order omelet, as these truly were our favorites. After we had breakfast we went back to the room to get all of our luggage as we were using the self-assist disembarkation. This is a service that you can use if you plan on carrying off your luggage by yourself and unassisted. This means you have little enough luggage to haul down flights of stairs and can go through the cruise terminal without help. Usually this group is off the ship earlier and this is the method we like to use when disembarking. We also had the Faster to the Fun (FTTF) perk and were able to get off even earlier. 
I am so sad that it is all over... The trip I have been looking forward to for well over 3 years is now history! I will be honest, I did shed a few tears! That is how good this trip was! 

Oceania Regatta coming into Seattle from an 11 day cruise to Alaska.

This FTTF perk has good and just OK perks but this one is WELL worth it! 

Lucky for us this ship had 3 elevator bays (not including the glass elevators in the atrium) and the aft elevators were not being used/ blocked off by the crew so we were able to haul all 6 pieces of our luggage in the elevator instead of the expected stairs. As far as catching elevators, this was the trip of the lifetime.  Almost everytime we called an elevator, it was already waiting for us, and we rarely had to share with anyone else. We met with the FTTF group in the MDR by 6:40AM and there was no rhyme or reason to this area. Usually there is a crew member carefully placing you in a holding area but this was wide open and free. Within 20 minutes we were out the door and in line to disembark. By 7:16AM we heard the last "DING" and were off of the Carnival Legend. This is always a very sad yet anxious time as we are sad to leave and the fact that it is over but anxious to get home. 

We made our way through the cruise terminal with all 6 bags in tow and through customs within minutes. In fact, we were some of the first people in the customs line and it was a breeze. We made our way outside and waited for our Seattle Express shuttle to take us back to our hotel for the evening. We were at our hotel in SOUTH Seattle, near the airport and checked in to our hotel room by 8:30AM. This is easily the BEST disembarkation time and process we have ever had! 

Goodbye Carnival Legend... It's been REAL! 

Yep... back in Seattle! Within minutes we see a Starbucks! 

When we booked this cruise nearly 2 years ago, we expected the Seattle Mariners to be in town as I wanted to see a baseball game in Seattle's Safeco Field. I have been to a game in EVERY MLB stadium except 7 so this was a real Bucket-list item for me so we had to see a game no matter what. Unfortunately, this meant the day AFTER the cruise instead of the days prior. It was an AMAZING day and just as good as all of the days of the cruise! You can read about that experience HERE

Check out our baseball bucket-list post HERE

This cruise was AMAZING and all that we had hoped for and more. The sights and the scenery were absolutely breathtaking and I was humbled by God's handiwork and the true beauty of Alaska and this region! I am a real planner and we are now planning ANOTHER Alaskan cruise for our 17th anniversary in 2023 (The next BIG one is Baltic/ Mediterranean for our 15th anniversary in 2021), that is unless I can talk Chris into it SOONER! 

Thank you all so much for following along and I really hope these posts have helped you in planning your Alaska Adventures or cruise. We appreciate y'all's support! 

This was cruise #8 and we are so excited for cruise #9 in December! Next up... 

Carnival Liberty- Christmas with the Kids- December 2016
 Carnival Dream- Bahamas 11th Anniversary Cruise  March 2017 
Carnival Breeze-Summer with the kids- Summer 2017
Carnival LibertyMY 35th Bday Celebration/ Girls Cruise-September 2017

 Thank you so much for following along and until we meet again... 

Keep Calm and CRUISE ON!  

A Legendary Trip North to Alaska- Victoria, B.C., Canada

10 Year Anniversary Cruise 2016- Carnival Legend

SeaDay or Port Day? 
Victoria, B.C., Canada
Monday, June 27, 2016

Welcome to Canada... for the 3rd time this trip! 

As the Alaskan portion of our cruise was coming to an end, we still had a major port we had to stop at and that was Victoria, B.C., Canada. This was yet another unique day where the morning and afternoon were treated like a SeaDay and the evening was a port day. The Carnival Legend was in port at Victoria, BC from 7:30PM to 11:59PM. We loved this day and Victoria but were so sad to see our cruise come to a close. 

I woke up around 7:30AM to the sound of the closet doors vibrating and shaking. The entire cruise the seas had been smooth and clear as glass so I looked outside but I saw much of the same. We had wondered if cruising in the aft (back) of the ship meant lots of swaying and vibrations and neither of those had proved true until this day. We were in the open pacific ocean coming around the west side of Vancouver island and the seas were still calm but the vibrations were just too much for me. 

My view this morning... always is my favorite sight!
No matter the cruise itinerary, no matter the location! 

The Ruby Princess leaving Seattle and sailing towards Alaska! 

I got ready for the day and went outside to have my quiet time and take in as much of this as I could. Chris must have been real tired because he did not even flinch and kept sleeping until well after 8:30AM. He then got up and jogged while I walked around the very empty ship. I love it when the ship is empty as it allows for wonderful pictures. 

The "STAGE" on Lido deck. This was mid-ship near Off the Grill and we loved the live music. 

Mid-Ship Lido deck... Competely covered (ALL THE TIME) with glass paneling. 

The pool and hot tub area on mid-Ship Lido (covered)

The forward pool on Lido. 

The walking area on Deck 10. This goes all the way from the front to the back of the ship and 4 laps equal 1 mile. 

Chess area near the foward pool. 

The Forward pool area... It is NOT covered but notice the ample amount of deck chairs! 

Along deck 10 in the aft were these clamshells. I would guess 20-30 on EACH side of the ship. These filled up fast (especially on the glacier day) but confirms my theory of seeing Alaska via an inside cabin... IT CAN BE DONE! 

The WaterPark/ Splashpad area... I completely forgot to do this! Bummer! 

The Serenity area of the ship!
This was the nicest and best well-kept Serenity I have seen. 

We met up at the whale talk by the ship naturalist, Michelle. Once again, she was monotone and boring but the topic was so fascinating. We learned so much about whales and their habits. If this would have been given EARLY in the cruise I would not have cancelled our whale watching tour, no matter what. I think Carnival should re-think having this talk/ event to the beginning of the cruise as I think it would help answer lots of questions from the passengers. 

Since we were docking at Victoria at 7:30PM we knew we wanted to eat dinner early so we decided to forgo breakfast and eat a large brunch style of meal. This meant going back to the very slow service in the MDR for the SeaDay brunch. We arrived at 10:30AM and there was a very long line. We ended up waiting about 10 minutes just to get a table and eventually got put at a booth table. As soon as I sat down I noticed that the napkins on the inside had been used and it turns out that the place settings had not been changed and everything was just placed on top of the old stuff. I was completely grossed out and asked for a new table but there was not one without another wait and since we wanted to spend as much time on the balcony as possible we just had them change it all. Brunch went downhill from there. Our waiter was hardly noticeable and our food took nearly 30 minutes to arrive. That brunch took nearly 2 hours overall and so long we asked for our dessert to go. This is a situation I would be mentioning in the final survey email. 

We took our desserts to our balcony and sat watching the ocean sail by for over an hour before getting chilly and coming inside to go the 80s party and trivia. This turned out to be a GREAT trivia and one of our favorites of any cruise (except Corey Rogers on the Conquest 2013 of he truly is the BEST). We did not win the 24K piece of SHIP on a stick but did pretty well. Afterwards we did some final cruise ship souvenir shopping and then went to our 1st TeaTime of the cruise. This has been one of our favorite things on ANY cruise line but this cruise we were not able to go due to so many port days. Carnival's new system of Lipton tea was AWFUL and what used to be the best desserts on board were TERRIBLE. (worse than the Lido desserts) This could have been a bad day or just the way it is now that Carnival has cut corners in this area too. We were very disappointed. 

My last afternoon aft time! 

After TeaTime we went back to our room for the worst thing on any cruise... packing! Oddly enough, we had an entire large suitcase full of clothes we never wore (we packed for 40-50* and it turned out to be 65-75*) so I had to really cram everything into our bags. Luckily we planned for lots of souvenirs and brought an extra duffel bag. If you plan on buying a lot on this, or ANY, cruise be sure to pack a small duffel style bag in your luggage to put your purchases in. 

ALL of these clothes were not worn or used... Wow, we are TERRIBLE at packing!

Since we were porting so late the MDR was open from 5PM to 8:30PM and we knew we wanted to be there early, so at 4:45PM we made our way down to deck 3 and found at least 200 people already in line. Despite the long line to get in, this was the best dinner and the best service we had the whole cruise. The servers knew that 2,600 passengers would need to get in and out within a few hours and really rushed the orders. This was PERFECT for us and as Chris said "Where have you been my whole life cruise?" We enjoyed our free drink coupons (for being gold members on Carnival) and then made our way to our room to continue watching the approach to Victoria from our balcony. 

We learned years ago at a Q&A session that all cruises who leave from a US port MUST stop at an international port or the entire crew must ALL be American. The only ship to have 100% Americans is the Pride of America who sails round-trip from Honolulu to the various Hawaiian islands without stopping at an international port. So in other words, the ship MUST stop at Victoria just to have the international port, which would explain the crazy port hours. It is a complete waste if you ask me and as much as I liked Victoria, next time we sail to Alaska we will sail from Vancouver to avoid this wasted day and shortened Alaskan port times. 

Nonetheless we wanted to get off the ship just to say we got off so we decided to make our way to the lobby around 7PM and so did the rest of the ship. It was a MADHOUSE. We waited not knowing where the line was forming until 20 minutes later. We waited in line about 200 people deep until 8PM when they opened the lines for us to get off the ship in Victoria. We got off the ship and made our way to the shuttle bus that took you to downtown Victoria. This bus was at the end of the pier and cost $10 (USD) per person for round-trip. This also was frustrating as downtown Victoria is too far to walk with this shortened port time. Once we arrived in downtown the shuttle dropped us off and we began exploring this beautiful city. 

The 1st look at Victoria from our balcony! 


Oh Canada!

We were able to see the Provincial Parliament building, the Empress hotel and much more. After exploring this city we made our way to an Irish Pub, had some drinks and relaxed as we knew tomorrow meant it was all over. After some great drinks and Irish music we made our way back to the shuttle bus pick-up location and back to the ship. We were back on board around 10:45PM and the Carnival worker I asked said  more than 50% of the people were already back on board so most people had our mindset of "get off just to get off". Keep this in mind as you port in Victoria. We liked Victoria and really wish we would have had more time in this city as it reminded us of London where we honeymooned 10 years ago. We were back in our cabin, all packed up and asleep before midnight as we knew tomorrow would be a long day for us. 

I love this and reminded me of SeaWorld. 

The Empress hotel in downtown Victoria! 

We loved this city! 

Parliament building... it was gorgeous! This picture does not do it justice. 

The beautiful flowers around the Parliament building!

The bay area near downtown. 

Victoria already made us think of London but this was deja vu!

I loved these classic Canadian shirts and their sense of humor! 

Irish Coffee for Chris! 

We enjoyed the live Irish band! 

Our home for one more night!

My 8th (or 9th?) time to Canada! 

The Carnival Legend in Victoria, B.C., Canada! 

She was a beauty! 

This day was a treat for us as it acted like a SeaDay with a port day bonus at the end. We loved Victoria and hope to come back one day! The next day we would be disembarking the ship and spending the rest of the day enjoying Safeco Field and baseball as we crossed off yet another MLB stadium off my Bucket-list. We feel so lucky to have been able to see Alaska this way and cannot thank God enough for this tremendous blessing! 

Next Up- Disembarkation and Summary 

God is good... ALL the time! 

Food... an After-Thought- Carnival Legend

If It Ain't Broke... Don't Fix It
Carnival's "Old" MenuCarnival LegendJune 21-28, 2016

Chris and I are not only cruise addicts but let’s be honest, we are FOOD ADDICTS TOO! And when it comes to cruising this is one of the things we look forward to the most. Since we have sailed on Carnival many times this food was not new to us and we were not trying to "taste everything". In fact, we reviewed our previous blogs and knew what we liked and what we did not. There was still some "taste testing" but not near as much as previous cruises.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Lunch- Lido Buffet
Kellie- 2.0 (BAD... even for Carnival)  
Chris- 2.5 

Dinner- MDR

Night #1 Menu

Carnival's Nightly Breadbasket- 1.0
AND it got worse each night! 

Kiss on the Lips- Where has this been?
I've never ordered it before and  I loved this!

Cream of Sun Ripened Tomatoes- 5.0
Easily the best tomato soup I have ever had... a MUST try!

Linguine with Italian Sausage
Kellie- 4.5 
Chris- 4.0 Very good

Fried Chicken Tenders- 4.5 (Perfect breading and sauce) 

Sweet and Sour Shrimp
Kellie- 4.5 (Excellent and perfectly seasoned)
Chris- 4.0 (delicious)

Tender Braised Beef- 4.5 (tender and pleasant surprise) 

Night #1 Dessert Menu

Creme Brulee
Kellie- 4.5 Still not as good as Royal Caribbean BBB
Chris- 4.0

Black Forest Gateau- 4.0

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Breakfast- SeaDay Brunch (MDR)
The SeaDay brunch bread basket- 3.5

Eggs Benedict- 4.0 (very Good) 

Cheddar Grits- 4.0

 Kellie Customized Omelet- 4.0

Kellie Frosted Flake French Toast- 2.0
Yuck... This is not my thing! It tasted Stale!

Chris Blueberry Pancakes- 4.5 (exactly what I want in a Blueberry pancake) 

Banana Cream Pie
Kellie- 5.0 (Best dessert on the ship but like the butterscotch ice cream better)  
Chris- 4.5 (PB ice cream was an excellent addition) 

Lunch- Bonsai Sushi
"Boat for 2" combo ($17)- 4.0
Edmame was fantastic

The Japanese soup was very good and more flavorful than what we get at home.

The Boat for 2

4 different kinds of sushi.

This sushi was incredible!

Dinner- MDR 
Night #2 (first formal) Menu

Chris Spaghetti Carbonara- 4.0 (would have been better with a red sauce

Spicy Alligator Fritters
Kellie- 4.0
Chris- 4.0 (the sauce made the dish) 

Baked Stuff White Mushrooms- 4.5

Broiled Main Lobster Tail and Black Tiger Shrimp
Kellie- 4.5
Chris- 4.5

Prime Rib- 5.0 

Night #2 Dessert Menu

Strawberry Bisque- 4.5

Chris International Cheese Plate- .5 (usually one of my favorites but it was AWFUL this time) 

Happy Anniversary Cake (Thanks Carnival)
Kellie- 2.5 too chocolaty
Chris- 3.0

Thursday, June 23. 2016

Breakfast- MDR
Omelet- 3.5
Waffles- 3.0

Lunch- Room Service
* we were taking pictures of the glaciers not the food... SORRY! 
Tuna Sandwich- 2.0
Grilled Cheese- 1.5
BLT- 4.5 (Need to order from RS more often)
Turkey Sandwich- 3.5

Dinner- MDR 
Night #3 Menu

Nightly Wine Menu

This was the wine we ordered with our $25 gift certificate for our anniversary and it was REALLY good! Thanks Carnival

Smoked Chicken Quesadilla- 3.5
This was burnt but otherwise it was perfect!

Shrimp Cocktail- 2.0

A Study in Sushi- 4.0
This was not near as good as Bonsai the day before

Penne Mariscos
Kellie- 4.5+

Chris- 4.0

Traditional Meatloaf- 3.5
There was NOTHING traditional about this

Southern Fried Chicken- 4.0

Jerk Pork Loin- 4.0

We skipped dessert this night! 

Friday, June 24, 2016
Breakfast- Lido Omelet Station 
Customized Omelet
Kellie- 4.0
Chris- 3.5

Lunch- Off the Grill 
Kellie- 2.0
Chris- 3.0

Fries- 2.0

Dinner- MDR 

Night #4 Menu 

Spring Rolls- 4.0

Bowtie  Pasta and Turkey- 4.0

Fried Shrimp
Kellie- 4.5 This was an appetizer and should be a main entree.
Chris- 4.0

Chilled Peach Soup
Kellie 4.5- 
I have not found a chilled soup that Carnival does not do well.

Seafood Newburg
Kellie- 4.5 WOW this is ALWAYS good!
Chris- 3.5 

Beef Straganoff- 4.5

Night #4 Dessert Menu

Bitter and Blanc- 5.0
This needs to be on the American Table menus... It is SO GOOD!

Tiramisu- Carnival never disappoints on this dessert!
Kellie- 4.0
Chris- 4.0

Coconut Cake- 4.0

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Dinner- MDR
Night #5 Menu

Spring Rolls
Chris- 3.5

Lasagna Bolagnase
Kellie- 4.0 This was not as good as I remember
Chris- 3.5

Filet Migon and Short Ribs
Chris- 4.5 It was REALLY REALLY good! 

Fried Shrimp
Chris- 4.0

Night #5 Dessert Menu 

Chocolate, Raspberry and Vanilla Cream Cake
Kellie- 3.5 (Good and loved the Raspberry Ice Cream)

Old Fashioned Apple Pie
Chris- 3.0

Sunday, June 26, 2016
Dinner- MDR
Night #6 (2nd formal) Menu

Kellie- 4.0 Not as good as I remember and VERY greasy. 

Cream of Broccoli- 4.0

Seafood Platter
Chris- 1.0 You call this a PLATTER? 

Penne Siciliana- 4.0

Grilled Jumbo Tiger Shrimp
Kellie- 4.0

Chris- 3.5 (Not really fried) 

Chateaubriand- 5.0 (Best dish of the cruise) 

Night #6 Dessert Menu

Baked Alaska
Kellie- 2.0
Chris- 3.0 melons were not needed 

Chilled Bing Cherry Soup- 2.0 This was not as good and chunky! 

Monday, June 27, 2016

SeaDay Brunch- MDR

Salmon- 2.5 

Pork Chop- 3.0 A step down from usual 

Banana Cream Pie- 4.5

Double Chocolate Brownie- 4.5

Dinner- MDR
Night #7 Menu

Crab Cake- 5.0
Kellie- 5.0 WOW this was so good I ordered ANOTHER!
Chris- 3.5

Kiss on the Lips- 5.0
FREE from Carnival for being a Gold member!

Mango Cream- 3.0

Prime Rib- 5.0

Panko Crusted Shrimp
Kellie- 3.5
Chris- 4.0

Cappuccino Pie
Kellie- 3.0 It was still frozen 

Grand Mariner Souffle'- 3.0 Not as good as usual 

These menus were very good and we prefer them to the new American Table menus but on this cruise food was just no our focus. We did still manage to choose our favorites:

Favorite Appetizer- Crab Cake/ Alligator Fritter/ Tomato Soup
Favorite Entree- Seafood Newburg 
Favorite Dessert- Bitter and Blanc 
Biggest Surprise- Spring Rolls
Biggest Disappointment- Desserts in general

Favorite Appetizer- Fried Chicken Tenders 
Favorite Entree- Chateaubriand
Favorite Dessert- Banana Cream Pie 
Biggest Surprise- Beef Straganoff
Biggest Disappointment- Cheese Plate 

We love cruising and EATING on cruises. We use this blog as means for us to know what to order and it is fun to look through and get our mouth watering while we are dieting! 

Thanks for following along! 

Until we meet again... Keep calm and CRUISE ON! 

God is good... All the time!