Berlin was an unexpected pleasure! The Hilton Hotel(very nice) was in the former East Berlin section and wonderfully located to take advantage of high-end shops, great restaurants, terrific museums and lovely tree-lined streets. The western part of Berlin was a bit more commercial but again, lovely streets, parks and architecture. Seeing the Brandenburg Gate, remains of "the Wall" and the parking lot that is the site of Hitler's infamous bunker were all very meaningful to our generation. Hard to equate what WAS with what is NOW. Highly recommend this extension.
All of the towns and cities we visited while on the cruise portion were very interesting and worthwhile. Dresden was particularly splendid. Arriving at night with the city in lights was magical. Wish there had been more free time in some of the towns.
There were some notable negatives - the way too many local guides were very repetitive and the resident program directors were not very engaging with the passengers. You did not get a sense that they were tuned in to the areas. We booked too early to get one of the cabins with the french balcony which became available later. The balcony is not a real balcony but at least you had sliding doors and they were not as claustrophobic as the regular ones. The advertised "window that opened" was a small section at the very top of the stationery window and useless. Storage space was not great. The weather was a bit iffy and that limited the time you could spend on the sun deck. On this trip there were very few ports where you did not have to load onto a bus to get to the town/city and that made it hard to leave the tour group to do any exploring or even shopping on your own. Having been to Prague, we felt sorry for those who could not experience it without the Sunday mobs of people.
Viking did a nice job with making arrangements for those passengers who were physically challenged so that they did not impact our ability to move more quickly. Food and service on the boat were excellent and the staff was great. Having the option of a small buffet lunch in the lounge or seated lunch in the dining room was very good.
This was our 5th river cruise and the first with Viking. We would use Viking again but the type of boat would be key as would the program directors. Overall it was a trip worth taking and would recommend it. The history of this part of Germany was a great learning experience.