I have traveled other European rivers with Viking, but had never been on the Elbe so was eager to return to Prague and head north to Berlin on the Elbe. The boat was great, the good was excellent (and plentiful), the tour director was amazing, and the weather mostly cooperated. The stop in Litomerice was a disappointment and I would have liked to have had more time in Meissen, but other than those 2 changes, the tour was excellent. We didn't really see Melnik, because we arrived late in the afternoon to board the boat, so that might be another small change to make. The Elbe reminds me of a wide English midlands canal (Mersey, Fradley, or Coventry) in that the water was calm and very pastoral, with cows, sheep, and a few horses coming down the to the river banks to graze and drink from the river. The Saxon-Switzerland area was just the opposite, with soaring rock cliffs climbing up from the Elbe. Touring the Bastei cliffs and bridges was amazing and provided great views of the Elbe far down below. Amazing!
Prague is a magnificent city - a favorite place to visit. I was delighted to have a reason to return there! Do spend extra time there if you can.
The service, as usual, was flawless. I feel bad marking it below the top ranking, but feel I must because of the wording of the question: was the service above your expectations. Viking always delivers such excellent service that my expectations are set very high - so they "met my expectations", but they have spoiled me on prior trips!
The cabin had a living room and a bedroom, which was very nice; the extra room really made a nice difference. The bathroom was very efficient and comfortable. The 2 beds were pulled apart so my friend and I could have separate twin beds, thus making the actual bedroom a bit smaller than for couples, but it was still comfortable. The extra treat was to have fresh flowers placed on our coffee table every few days!
The laundry service was quick and good -- clothing came back clean, pressed, and quickly. What more could one ask?!