The Viking Legend has one restaurant, off the reception area on Deck 2, that is open-seating, offering mostly tables for 6, 8 or 10 but some for 4 as well (there are no tables for two). The room has nice, cushy chairs and a contemporary flair. Tables covered with light table cloths line windows on two sides (and in the center too at dinner). Fresh flowers fill tabletop vases. For breakfast and lunch, a huge buffet takes up the central section, while dinner is served by waiters from menus.
Dining is at set times – check your newsletter daily as the times change based on itineraries. Generally dinner is at 7 p.m., and while there is a little flexibility in terms of when you show up for the buffets (breakfast is usually 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and lunch noon to 2 p.m.) this is not so for dinner. If you come late for dinner, the policy is your meal continues with the course being served – so show up, say, a half hour late, and you may not be offered the appetizer (though you will get the entrée).
At the breakfast buffet, a chef is positioned in the center preparing eggs, which you order from your waiter, who also pours the coffee and juice. You can get pancakes too, though be aware they are served with a simple syrup rather than maple syrup. The rather lavish buffet spread also includes scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, cold meats and herring, a selection of breads and pastries, cheeses, fruit and cereals. There's a do-it-yourself toaster oven.
The equally lavish lunch buffet features several salad selections, hot entrees, soups and stews, sandwiches, pasta, cheeses and desserts. Goulash makes an appearance several times during the cruise and is delicious, and don't miss the stuffed green peppers (they'll bring back memories of your childhood). The wait staff delivers additional desserts including ice cream sundaes and beverages.
Every afternoon, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m., in the lounge, there is a choice of two pastries at a self-service afternoon tea. Chips, pretzels and peanuts are on tables during the pre-dinner cocktail hour.
Regular dinner menus offer one or two appetizers (such as liver pate or beef carpaccio) and a daily soup, with the option of a Caesar salad on request (otherwise, salads are sparse on the dinner menu). There are usually two entrees, typically one fish and one meat – choices might include local favorites such as wienerschnitzel and venison with juniper berries or international dishes like shrimp on risotto. You also have a choice of two desserts (layered cakes, lavish pastries, ice cream), or a tasty cheese plate to finish the meal. If you don't like the entrée choices, you can, at any time, order a thin grilled steak or grilled chicken (the only real healthy option). While the food is generally well-prepared and flavorful, the variety at dinner is not huge and neither are the portions. But a member of the wait staff will walk through the dining room with seconds when available (sit at one of the tables near the kitchen for first dibs).
The food is nicely prepared, somewhere between what your German grandmother might have served and the kind of gourmet cuisine you'd expect in a fine restaurant, with care taken in the presentation (everything looks pretty on the plate).
There are several themed dinners during each cruise to reflect the cruising regions including Viennese and Bavarian. Passengers with specific dietary requests, such as vegetarian, low-salt and gluten free, are accommodated upon request though Viking encourages travelers to give the line advance notice.
The only alternatives to meals in the restaurant are in the Observation Lounge upstairs. There's an early risers' breakfast – coffee, juice and pastries served in the lounge daily from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. (the set-up disappears when the breakfast buffet begins). And a light lunch is offered in the lounge at a set time each afternoon, usually around 1 p.m. – a smaller version of the restaurant buffet with sandwiches, pasta, salad and soup. There is no waiter service in the lounge, so that if you want a drink, even a glass of water, you need to go to the bar and fetch it yourself.
While passengers in the two suites can order room service at any time, other passengers will only be accommodated in-cabin by special request (and are discouraged unless they are ill).
Outside the lounge (and just above the reception area) there's a 24-hour coffee station that serves as an impromptu café, with a few cushioned chairs and tables facing windows. A self-service machine makes free cappuccinos, lattes, even macchiatos and hot chocolate, with tea, iced tea, iced water with lemon and fresh fruit available at all times.
Editor's Note: If you think you'll get hungry between meals you can always grab a snack (such as a sandwich from the buffet) to keep in your cabin fridge.
To accompany your meal, you can buy single bottles of wine or single drinks, but the line also pushes alcohol packages – 150 euros per person (about $223) for drinks and wine daily (plus a bottle of champagne) for a week; or wine packages with four bottles for the price of five, for 99 euros ($147).
Alcohol is not cheap – expect to pay 5.50 euros ($8.17) for a Bloody Mary, 7 euros ($10.40) for a pina colada. A cocktail of the day is 5 euros ($7.43) and a small, Individual carafe of Riesling is 4.20 euros ($6.24).
The crew is mostly German or Austrian or from Eastern European countries (such as Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Poland and Bulgaria) and while they are not particularly smiley by nature they are certainly enthusiastic. Talk to them and a sense of humor will emerge and they are great at meeting requests promptly. They mostly speak German with each other and English to guests. The Captain is German.