Legend of the Seas offers six dining options, three of which are included in the cruise fares and three of which carry additional fees.
The main Romeo and Juliet Dining Room, on decks 4 and 5 aft, is an elegant mix of cream and tan with accents of maroon and teal. Overhead, giant mirrors and a light fixture made of crystals create a flowerlike structure in the middle of the two-deck room. The venue offers two set-seating dining times (5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.) on the lower level and My Time Dining on the upper level between 5:30 and 8:45 p.m. On our sailing, we were stuck with the 8 p.m. dining time, which was a bit late for us. In spite of multiple attempts to switch to the earlier seating or My Time Dining, the dining staff was unable to accommodate us. If you're unable to secure your ideal dining time prior to embarkation, take care of it as soon as you board the ship.
Tables are available in various configurations that seat from two to eight people. Menus list appetizers like chilled pineapple and lychee soup, crab cakes, and tomato and baked feta cheese salad; entrees that include rosemary lamb shank, braised beef and Yukon gold potato pie; and desserts that range from key lime pie and strawberry trifles to cappuccino layer cake. Standard go-to dishes like Caesar salad, linguini, grilled chicken breast and creme brulee are always available, and all applicable menu options are marked with symbols to indicate vegetarian, gluten-free and healthy choices. Dishes are generally decent but not outstanding. While the service was mildly inefficient, our waiters were friendly and did an excellent job of accommodating special requests for things like steamed vegetables and extra scoops of ice cream.
The lower level of Romeo and Juliet is also available for open-seating breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on sea days; hours vary on port days. At lunchtime (on sea days only), the dining room changes into open-seating Brasserie 30, which features a salad bar and dishes like chicken sliders, fish enchiladas and warm cherry custard crepes from noon to 1:30 p.m.
On Deck 9 forward, you'll find the Windjammer, the ship's nautically themed buffet venue. For breakfast (7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on sea days, varying hours on port days), options include fruit, yogurt, cereal, oatmeal and grits, waffles and French toast, bacon, sausage, tater tots, biscuits with gravy, and scrambled and hard-boiled eggs. A chef at a special station can also make you an omelet while you watch. Lunchtime (every day from 11:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.) offerings are made up of a build-your-own salad bar, pizza, hamburgers, pastas, sandwiches, seasoned vegetables, chicken, rice and potatoes, fruit and desserts. A separate station is available for rotating options like carved meats or stir-fry. The Windjammer is also a great fee-free casual dinner option (every day, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) if you don't feel like heading to the dining room. You'll find the same fare that's presented in the dining room each night, but you'll serve yourself from the buffet instead. Afternoon snacks are provided every day from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., as well. A couple of drink stations offer complimentary water, coffee, tea, sweetened iced tea, lemonade, apple juice and orange juice. Take note that it can be difficult to find open tables at certain times -- particularly lunchtime on sea days. Tip: Watch your hands on the tongs. If they've sat under the heat lamps for too long, they'll scald your skin.
Park Cafe, located in the peaceful adults-only Solarium, is one of the new dining options added during the refurb. It provides free light fare throughout the day, including sandwiches, paninis, soups, salads and carved meats, as well as cookies and other light dessert options. Nearby is a station for drinks, and you can eat at one of several tables that surround the indoor wave pool in the center of the room. Hours are from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., noon to 6 p.m. (sea days only) and 8:30 p.m. to midnight.
If you're in the mood for some Japanese-inspired cuisine, head up to Izumi in the Viking Crown Lounge on Deck 11 between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. daily (reservations recommended). You'll pay a $5 per-person cover charge in addition to an a la carte price for each item you order. The menu focuses heavily on soup, sushi, sashimi, noodles and the restaurant's signature "hot rocks," which allow you cook your own food at your table on a rock that's heated in the oven for eight hours until it reaches 575 degrees. We tried the edamame (free), miso soup (free), mixed seafood rock (scallops, shrimp, lobster, salmon and vegetables accompanied by rice and tasty dipping sauces for $13), snow crab California roll ($7) and green tea ice cream ($4.50), as well as a carafe of sake (4 small shots for $10.50). It was all superb -- definitely worth the cost. Be aware, however, that waiters might try to upsell you on everything from drinks to desserts in an effort to increase the overall bill (and, subsequently, their tips). We had to ask several times for what we wanted while our server continued to push larger quantities and more expensive alternatives.
Chops Grille, the onboard steakhouse, is heaven for carnivorous cruisers. A fee of $30 per person covers one appetizer, one main course and one dessert in an upscale atmosphere on Deck 11, where Chops shares space with Izumi in the Viking Crown Lounge. Choose from options like Dungeness crab and shrimp cake, smoked duck salad or cheese 'n' onion soup as a starter; Alaskan halibut, free-range chicken breast or a variety of steaks (veal chop, porterhouse, short rib, filet mignon) as a main; and chocolate mud pie, red velvet cake or creme brulee for dessert. The menu also lists wine selections and specialty coffee drinks for an additional charge. Hours are 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day, and reservations are recommended.
Another relatively new for-fee option is Chef's Table, for which a limited number of cruisers (no more than 12 on each night it's offered) pay $95 apiece to dine in a cordoned-off portion of the upper level in the Romeo and Juliet Dining Room. The price includes five courses from a preselected menu. Each is presented by one of the ship's head chefs as he explains what goes into the preparation of each dish. A sommelier also offers small pours of five different wines, each carefully selected to complement one of the courses. Yes, the price is astoundingly high for an onboard restaurant, but the experience and the equally high food quality are well worth the cost. A total of three different menus is available for Chef's Table (for passengers who decide to dine there more than once per sailing), but only one is available on each night. The highlights of our experience were a beautifully prepared lobster salad, a trio of soups (pea, mushroom and beef consomme), a lightly breaded eggroll stuffed with duck meat, perfectly prepared filet mignon and leg of lamb (we were given a choice) and a trio of desserts (a scoop of ice cream, a scoop of cream and a small cake). We also sampled some of the most delicate and scrumptious chocolates we've ever tasted. Dinner begins at 7 p.m., but don't expect it to be over until at least 10 p.m. Reservations are required, and children younger than 13 aren't allowed.
Cafe Latte-tudes on Deck 6, just next to the library, offers free snacks like cookies and cakes, as well as for-fee tea, Illy specialty coffee drinks, and Ben & Jerry's ice cream and milkshakes from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Ice cream and milkshake prices range from $2.50 to $4.74, while tea and coffee beverages will set you back anywhere from $2 to $5.50 each. Punch cards are available; your seventh coffee drink is free after you reach your sixth punch. If free soft ice cream is what you're craving, head up to Deck 9, where you'll find a serve-yourself machine and cone dispensers near the pool. Chocolate was always a staple on our cruise, but we found vanilla difficult to come by on certain days. (It was often replaced by strawberry.)
On several afternoons throughout each cruise, special alfresco lunch offerings are set up on the pool deck, weather permitting. On our sailing, we partook in fajitas on one day, German brats on another, and barbecued chicken and ribs on a third. It's all free and generally delicious.
Room service is available 24 hours a day. It's free between 5 a.m. and midnight, but deliveries outside of those times incur a $3.95 fee. For room service breakfast, simply place your door-hanger menu order on the outside of your cabin door handle before heading to bed. A couple dollars' tip is polite for whoever brings your order.
If you expect to drink lots of soda, alcohol, bottled water or for-fee juice drinks during your sailing, you might want to consider purchasing one of several available beverage packages at the beginning of the voyage. While soda-only packages cost just $6.50 per person, per day, be warned that other package prices can be a bit ridiculous ($71 for a case of 24 bottles of water; $35 for 12 bottles of juice; or $20 per person, per day, for unlimited nonalcoholic beverages). So, unless you plan to drink a whole bunch, be sure to check the math. It can add up to a lot of money on longer sailings. Also note that if one person in a group purchases an unlimited alcohol package ($40 to $65 per person, per day), other adults (21 and older) sharing the same cabin or onboard account are also required to purchase a package.