My wife and I, both Americans, loved the Elegant Elbe cruise on Viking Cruises. Our fellow travelers were about 60% British and 40% American with 4 Irish thrown in with the British. From our arrival in Berlin to our departure from Krakow, we were totally under the wing of Viking Cruises. They took care of all needs throughout the trip. The people we sailed with were fun and interesting to talk to. We chose to eat all our meals in the dining room with different couples each time. Toward the end of the cruise however, we found we had favorites and ate during the last couple of days with them.
The daily bus tours all came off without a hitch. Each time the three buses were waiting for us. Each had a local tour guide who gave us local history and pointed out local points of interest. One bonus on this cruise: the entire cruise took place behind the iron curtain. East Germany, The Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia) and we took an extension to Krakow, Poland. Our tour guides all grew out there. We were fascinated by their stories of living under communism, then suddenly becoming free. They all had a unique twist on this theme.
We extended to Krakow, Poland. One problem: we were led to believe it was a 5 hour drive. It turned out to be 9 hours in a comfortable van, but nine hours on the road is grueling. There were six of us who took this extension. Visiting Auschwitz was a highlight, but very glum. We never before had seen so many tourists with somber faces.
All in all we thought it was a terrific trip. Viking took care of us each step of the way. Our fellow travelers were fun and complete with interesting stories. Our guides had even more stories that kept the trip interesting. We totally recommend it to anyone looking for history and adventure.
Also our ship, the Schumann is being retired after this year. Although it was comfortable, we have to believe the new ship will be even better.