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11 Dresden to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

we chose the cruise as we had not been on the Elbe River. We knew that there had been problems with low water in 2018 but we thought July would be okay, but it was not. A week before the cruise we were told that we would board another ... Read More
we chose the cruise as we had not been on the Elbe River. We knew that there had been problems with low water in 2018 but we thought July would be okay, but it was not. A week before the cruise we were told that we would board another cruise boat & be bused to another one down river for the remainder of our tour. We could have cancelled the tour but decided to go with it anyway. There were about 35 passengers onboard which made for an intimate experience. I recommend to not book a cruise past May. The Elbe is a wild river with no locks to hold water so cruises are dependent on the amount of rain. Food was mostly good with sparking wine at breakfast. We will receive a 50% voucher for a future cruise to compensate us for the non cruise experience. The ship is smaller than others with only 2 levels . I spoke to a couple were not notified that the boat would not move until they arrived at the ship. Viking was sending email to my travel companion but not me. When I asked that I receive emails I was rudely informed that it was not possible! I did not see an elevator. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We have previously sailed with Viking on the Rhine, Rhone & in Bordeaux (+ 2 ocean cruises) and thought the Elegant Elbe might be good too. The landscapes at the south end were spectacular (especially the Bastei rock formation which ... Read More
We have previously sailed with Viking on the Rhine, Rhone & in Bordeaux (+ 2 ocean cruises) and thought the Elegant Elbe might be good too. The landscapes at the south end were spectacular (especially the Bastei rock formation which soars above the Elbe) but the further north you go, it was cruising in a ditch through farmland. It was interesting to see the slow pace of economic development in the former East Germany, even after 30 years of reunification. The rebuilt city of Dresden is impressive, as is Wittenberg. In preparation for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Wittenberg was given a major face lift. All utilities were buried. Not a wire or satellite dish to be seen. It's a very pleasant walking town. I would definitely skip the pre-cruise "package" in Prague if I was planning the trip again. It consisted of nothing more than two extra nights in an overpriced hotel room ($650 per night) plus breakfast. Some optional excursions were offered but all were at substantial additional cost. That was disappointing because Viking had a reputation for excellent, included excursions. The weather in early April can be marginal in northern Europe. Perhaps this cruise would be better if delayed a month. I would stay further south in Europe if cruising in early spring again. Our Viking dining experience was typically excellent. Entertainment was minimal but good, as we expected on a very small ship. Rik, our Cruise Director was quite entertaining (quick wit and dry sense of humour!) as well as highly competent in organizing everything. Beyla is a small ship with a more intimate feel to it. Staff were great, attending to almost every detail with enthusiasm. Our only concern was the lack of attention to infection control in the common areas. On every other ship we have cruised on, meticulous attention was paid to disinfection and, especially, the mandatory use of the hand sanitizers. Unfortunately, a significant number of guests had flu and/or colds and shared them with the rest of us. This lead to a few weeks of misery for us during the second part of our visit to Europe (extended stay in London) and Viking Air wasn't of much help when we tried to go home early. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose this cruise because one of the destinations was Berlin and I’ve always wanted to see this city. Also another plus for us was that this cruise also visited Wittenberg and because of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this ... Read More
We chose this cruise because one of the destinations was Berlin and I’ve always wanted to see this city. Also another plus for us was that this cruise also visited Wittenberg and because of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this is another destination we wanted to see. Since my wife and I are Lutheran, this visit had special meaning to us. We were also struck by the beauty of Prague. We had no idea before we left home about much of the history of the city and how beautiful the city is. A much unexpected plus for our journey! And we cannot say enough regarding the staff of the Beyla. Since this was our first extended trip to Eastern Europe, we were a little apprehensive about our trip. But the crew on the ship and especially our cruise director Claudia alleviated all our concerns. The ship itself was wonderful. We enjoyed our accommodations. The food provided was very good, and being a very picky eater, I was able to find something to eat for all my meals that we had onboard. This was a truly great and enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This is the perfect cruise for those who want to spend time on land in major cities and still experience a cruise. It began with 3 days at the Prague Hilton with excursions and oversight by our wonderful cruise director, Claudia Diederix. ... Read More
This is the perfect cruise for those who want to spend time on land in major cities and still experience a cruise. It began with 3 days at the Prague Hilton with excursions and oversight by our wonderful cruise director, Claudia Diederix. Then a pleasant motor coach ride to embark on our lovely ship and start a leisurely cruise down the Elbe with scenic cruising through Saxon Switzerland and excursions to the Bastei, to Miesen and porcelain making to Wittenberg. Then tours to Prince Franz palace and of Frederick the Great's summer palace and on into Berlin with a egG at the Intercontinental and two days of sightseeing in Berlin. It a great adventure with wonderful service all the way through. All of the others on the cruise as well as the crew spoke English. In each port there were optional tours available as well as on port entertainment, music or lectures dealing with the region we were in or it's history. The top deck of the ship is a sundeck, partly covered which is perfect for walking, lounging, or playing miniature golf. The ship is small, accommodating only 92 guests. Thus it is easy to get to know your fellow travelers as well as to be well cared for by the cruise personnel. All together an excellent experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
The Elbe River has very low waters such that it is not presently navigable by the usual cruise ships. This was predictable from early spring as snow falls and run off were about 1/3 of annual. In April I received an enticing offer from ... Read More
The Elbe River has very low waters such that it is not presently navigable by the usual cruise ships. This was predictable from early spring as snow falls and run off were about 1/3 of annual. In April I received an enticing offer from Viking to book the ELEGANT ELBE cruise, which we did. But I knew nothing, and told nothing of the possible (likely) "non-cruising" itinerary, which passengers were eventually notified of 2-3 days before the cruise. Some passengers were actually booked only 3 weeks before departure (due to other cancellations); but also were enticed (i.e. told nothing) of the "bait and switch" they were offered. The passengers accepted that Viking does not control the weather or water levels. BUT they unanimously felt the company should have informed us earlier of this issue and given us the opportunity to modify our travel plans. Instead, they "graciously" offered a $1000/per person voucher on a FUTURE VIKING CRUISE, but to be booked in less than 12 months. Many angry and disappointed passengers have contacted Viking with little satisfaction thus far. Instead of cruising leisurely the Elbe river from one town to another, we were bused 1-2 hrs to excursions. This was neither leisurely nor cruising, and conducive to swollen legs. I have sent an email to Viking a few days ago, no response yet. I wonder if this company grew too quickly, overextended itself, and is now not able to provide customer satisfaction. Otherwise the ship was new and comfortable (can't tell about sailing), food very good, staff attentive (and stressed). This was our second, and likely last Viking cruise. Problems arise in any circumstance, the key is how the person or company resolve the problem. Viking does not appear to know the difference between a river cruise and a bus tour, NOT THE SAME! not the same value either. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
The ship never sailed. I don't know how they can call it a river CRUISE. I did not get notice until after I had arrived in Europe and lost the chance to cancel. it was supposed to cruise from Prague to Berlin. They substituted long ... Read More
The ship never sailed. I don't know how they can call it a river CRUISE. I did not get notice until after I had arrived in Europe and lost the chance to cancel. it was supposed to cruise from Prague to Berlin. They substituted long bus rides and a move to a second ship, the Beyla. One day (Between the hotel and arrival at the ship) included a mandatory trip to walk around Litormerice for hours in 1oo degree heat where (since they had changed the day of the visit to Sunday) everything was closed except a beer cellar where they had arranged a tasting. I am a 68 year old and was traveling with a friend. In Prague, we stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel, which was very comfortable and in a great location. The Astrilde was a pretty new ship, although the cabins are small. Two people can't walk past each other. There were daily bus excursions to local towns. Activities and entertainment on the ship were very limited, probably because we did not cruise to planned ports. Two nights were German history, one was a Viking "commercial" followed by irate customer complaints, and one was a string trio from Dresden. Dining on the ship was a highlight with good food, good service, and good company. With the rescheduling, we ended with only twelve hours in Berlin and took the 4:45am shuttle to the airport. In summary, I wish I could have cancelled or postponed. The bad outweighed the good. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Booked an elegant elbe river cruise with viking. 3 days in prague before the 7 day cruise on the viking fontane (excellent). Three says in berlin after the cruise (excellent). 7 days devoted to the river cruise (a big fiasco). There was ... Read More
Booked an elegant elbe river cruise with viking. 3 days in prague before the 7 day cruise on the viking fontane (excellent). Three says in berlin after the cruise (excellent). 7 days devoted to the river cruise (a big fiasco). There was insufficient water in the elbe for cruising. We remained tied to the dock at dresden and were bussed every day to various sites. Then we were told to pack our bags and bussed to the viking schumann where we exchanged cabins with the schumann passengers who were transferred by bus to the fontane. We began our cruiseless cruise on june 5. Water levels in the elbe were tooooooo low weeks before that. Did viking notify the passengers and give them the option to cancel or re book? Noooooooooooooo!!! We were offered a refund of $1775 in cash and an equal amount in a voucher for another viking cruise which expires in one year. Beware! An anticipated restful river cruise turned into an exhausting bus tour. Want to river cruise... Try a reputable company like ama or scenic or any one but viking. Don't book with viking. You will be up the river without a paddle. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
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 ... Read More
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.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013

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