One reason fewer lines sail this route is that the Elbe is a shallow river, requiring smaller ships. The intimate size of Grand Circle's River Allegro turned out to be a big plus, making for a very congenial atmosphere onboard. With set meal times and open seating, we soon knew many of the 90 passengers. Having just one lounge meant more opportunities to mingle, and many friendships formed. Informal dress aboard added to the relaxed, friendly ambience.
The enrichment on this cruise was a highlight, with many chances to meet and talk with local people. Another feature we enjoyed was ample time to explore independently. Every day offered a guided tour in the morning (on foot, except in larger cities like Berlin), with afternoons free to follow your own interests.
Here are some highlights of our Elbe River experience.
--by Eleanor Berman, Cruise Critic contributor