Viking Legend Entertainment & Activities
Entertainment on Viking Legend is low-key, home-grown. There is a friendly singer/keyboardist who sings Jimmy Buffet's "Margaritaville" with an Eastern European accent – so that it comes out "Margaweetaville" – and plays everything from Beatles to Mozart (he even occasionally picks up an accordion). He plays during cocktail hour and some evenings after dinner, and also fills the peanut bowls in the bar in between sets, helping out the ship's one bartender.
Local entertainers come onboard some nights after dinner including a small troupe of musicians/dancers introduced by our program director as “Hungarian gypsies.” Other nights after dinner (at about 9 p.m.) the program director does slideshow/lectures that are more entertaining than intellectual, covering topics like the coffeehouse culture in Vienna (he makes such observations as "The Blue Danube never was blue. I don't know who wrote that. He must have been on booze or something.").
The majority of passengers head to their cabins after dinner; this is not a ship for nightlife.
Those seeking intellectual discussion will be more pleased with an afternoon lecture one day by a young German bureaucrat/graduate student discussing the history and future of the European Union.
Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship for free (it works best in public areas), and if you don't you're your own laptop you can rent one for 5 euros ($7.42) per hour. Be aware it is not high speed.
On the flatscreen TV in your cabin you can watch CNN International, BBC World, CNBC Europe, sometimes Bloomberg, one English movie channel, and itinerary-related channel and three German TV stations – where late at night there are often shows with nudity.
Among other onboard activities, the crew invites passengers on a galley tour towards the end of each cruise, and at the program director's whim there may be an afternoon Liar's Club (particularly on a day with low bridges when the sundeck is closed), an evening talent show, or an afternoon strudel-making demonstration by the chef.
Much more impressive, and really the big event of every day on the Viking Legend, are the complimentary shore excursions. These well-planned outings range from two-hour walking tours to full-day bus tours. Nearly everyone participates – though you also have the option of staying on the ship. The tours require some walking on cobblestones or uphill, so may not be appropriate to some with physical limitations.
All passengers at check-in are assigned a bus (you can switch if you want to be with friends) and given a pair of disposable headphones for use throughout the cruise. These hook into a wonderful Quietvox receiver system – with pocketsize units distributed each day – that allows everyone to easily hear the guides (the only dial to toy with is the volume). If you lose your headphones – guilty! – extra pairs are available.
For those who want to go off on their own to explore the ports, also particularly impressive is the ship's concierge desk. Since the ship is staffed with crew who hail from some of the countries you are visiting if you want to head off on your own you can truly get local advice – from navigating the subways of Vienna to finding the best pastry in Budapest. The program manager uses a computer to carefully check museum hours, is equipped with maps, and gives all passengers his cell phone number in case you get lost.
There are a few extra-charge excursions offered in addition to the complimentary daily outing – a big hit was a musical evening in Vienna for 75 euros ($111 per person), but really you can have a very stimulating cruise and see all the main sights without paying extra.