We flew to Prague on a two day pre-cruise extension staying in total three nights at the Prague Hilton Pobrezni. The hotel was excellent and Prague was enjoying its hottest week for 60 years! We did our own thing for two days before joining up with the main party for a Prague tour and then to be bussed to the Viking Schumann. We were due to board in Melnik but unfortunately and unbelievably following the June floods, the river was dry at the Czech border, so we joined the ship in Dresden. We should have visited Litomeric but this was not possible so the ship firstly sailed back towards Prague to Bad Schandau where we instead visited the Konigstein Fortress. Returning to Dresden the Schumann picked up the original itinerary onwards to Potsdam for Berlin. Here we again stayed three nights at the Berlin Hilton, an equally excellent hotel. Returning to the subject of water levels, it subsequently emerged that the heavy rain that we enjoyed whilst in Bad Schandau was just sufficient to enable the Schumann to make it to Potsdam. If the water levels do drop, Viking station their two ships at either end of the river or as near as possible and passengers are bussed to the sights with a change over from one ship to the other during the week. A point worth noting at this time of year as a cruise can become a coach tour from two bases!
As for the Schumann, at over 20 years old, she is lovely. She is not one of the new Viking Longships as seen on TV, rather she is much smaller and lower in order to sail under the bridges on the Elbe. The public rooms are smart and the cabins, though not huge, are well appointed. The complaint voiced by my wife was that the bathrooms are 'wet rooms' which she hates. It does mean that the floors do get very wet but the shower behind the flapping curtain is large and with subsequent judicious use of towels, the floor is manageable.
The food was excellent, the more so because we learnt on the galley tour that kitchen staff were two persons short. Unlike in an earlier review we found that there was no shortage of the included wine at lunch and dinner so we were very happy. We went on and enjoyed all the included excursions, the guides were first class, especially the one who took us on the comprehensive tour of Berlin.
The organisation by Viking was at all times first class with the indefatigable Tour Manager Stephanie ensuring that we were always up to speed and having an enjoyable time. One further bonus was the abundant bird life along the River Elbe.
Would we go with Viking again? They are not inexpensive, but we felt it was well worth it and we would recommend them without hesitation. Six nights in super Hilton hotels and seven nights on the splendid Schumann, just excellent.