Days are busy on a Viking Elbe cruise and are packaged with enrichment-oriented shore excursions. On our trip, there was a nice balance of cultural, historic and nature-oriented explorations. We had the opportunity to select tours based on our preferred pace. One particular favorite tour among the included excursions was a visit to the Meissen porcelain factory, which did a first-rate job of showing passengers how its products are made (the two in-house gift shops did a rollicking trade and there's a lovely cafe as well for light fare). The walking tour in Dresden was good enough for us to get a handle on the gorgeous re-built-to-period city, and we loved that there was plenty of time on our own so we could go back and visit the places we were most interested in. We learned about beer, quite a stalwart drink in the region, in Litomerice from a young couple brewing their own microbrews, and we walked in Martin Luther's Reformation steps in Wittenberg. A few extra-fee tours were available, including a visit to Terezin in the Czech Republic; it's the sobering site of a Nazi camp. In Dresden, an optional tour allowed passengers to shop at a local market with the ship's chef.
There wasn't a grueling schedule of activities onboard and most passengers wouldn't have had time for them anyway. Viking brought local performers onboard occasionally for a cultural performance. Probably the best fun we had was an after-dinner folklore performance by our ship's wait staff wearing native costumers -- passengers were encouraged to get up and dance with them, and we had a blast doing so.
A pianist -- equally comfortable with classical and modern melodies -- tinkled the ivories during cocktail hour, after dinner and even often at lunch. If seated in Aquavit Terrace, the music will drift in -- a nice accompaniment on warm, sunny days.
* May require additional fees
In your cabin you'll find QuietVox headsets with earphones; we used them on every tour so that we could hear what the local guides were saying.
Viking Longships, like all riverboats, only have a few public rooms and that makes it easy to get to know the ship and your fellow passengers.
The light and airy lobby and atrium are compact and this is where you'll head for the customer service desk and some shelves that house a collection of Viking logo wear and a small library. If you want to check your email, there is a pair of computers in this area but most folks brought their own devices.
There are three distinct areas in the lounge. There's the U-shaped bar and lounge area with different table and chair configurations (and we loved that there were a number of tables at dining height, which also make working on laptops, playing cards and writing letters comfortable). There's also the glass-roofed conservatory area that opens up in nice weather.
We adored the rocking chairs on the sun deck. Don't miss them! There's plenty of seating, both chaises and table setups, and a canopy for shade.
Remember, this is a baby Longship and its compact layout means there is no spa, fitness center, pool or hot tub. The program director can help you book spa appointments in ports along the way, and you can also request help with bike rentals.
There is a walking track, putting green and a giant chess set on the sun deck.
There is no special programming for kids and Viking does not encourage families to cruise on the line; the age limit is 18. Thus, it offers no special inducements or entertainment.