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Sail Date: October 2017
We enjoyed the Danube River cruise which has been on our to-do list. We have been on Viking cuises before so we were already familiar with the level of services Viking provides. In general we are happy with our experience on Viking Schuman ... Read More
We enjoyed the Danube River cruise which has been on our to-do list. We have been on Viking cuises before so we were already familiar with the level of services Viking provides. In general we are happy with our experience on Viking Schuman and the services that were provided by its crew throughout the cruise were excellent. We particularly enjoyed the fresh salad avaialbel everyday. On the day we disembarked Viking Schuman in Budapest we embarked on another cruise (Budapest to Bucharest) with Vantage. Though the Vantage ship (River Voyager) was a newer ship than Viking Schuman, Viking Schuman was better acoustically with almost no noise issues. However Vantage provided many more cultural connection events (live performances, dining at a local home and restaurants, visit to a local school, etc.) than Viking. We truly enjoy connecting with local culture and people. We hope that Viking will add more cultural connection events to its cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
The ports of call and the inexpensive promotional price were the reasons we chose this particular cruise. There were numerous highlights including visiting Wittenberg, Germany the day before Reformation Day! Our Program Director, Marco, ... Read More
The ports of call and the inexpensive promotional price were the reasons we chose this particular cruise. There were numerous highlights including visiting Wittenberg, Germany the day before Reformation Day! Our Program Director, Marco, was terrific. He was extremely helpful and gregarious! The number of passengers was small as it was a small ship so we were able to get to know each other and interact with each other quite a bit. Our decision to stay one extra night in Berlin at the beginning of the cruise and one extra night in Prague at the end proved to be just enough to punctuate a wonderful cruise experience with additional experiences in those two great cities. Having taken five ocean cruises, I am much more inclined to repeat the river cruise format to new destinations. Coming and going is sooo much easier and less time consuming. The price of the excursions was included in the price of the cruise which it has never been on any of the ocean cruises we have taken. The food was fabulous and the accommodations were more than adequate. We never really felt like we were on a small ship even thought the Clara Schumann is the smallest in the Viking fleet (we were told). We fell in love with our Viking experience and hope to do it again as soon as possible. There was no fitness center on board but the walking we did on our shore excursions made up for the lack of exercise opportunity on board. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2016
I've always wanted to go to Europe. This year was our 25th anniversary, so I bit the bullet and scheduled our cruise. It was the best vacation and the best cruise that we have ever been on. We enjoyed our Caribbean cruise when we took ... Read More
I've always wanted to go to Europe. This year was our 25th anniversary, so I bit the bullet and scheduled our cruise. It was the best vacation and the best cruise that we have ever been on. We enjoyed our Caribbean cruise when we took it, but this Viking River Cruise was on another level altogether. It is a much more intimate cruising experience. Our 21 year old daughter went with us and while she is possibly the youngest patron they have ever seen on one of their ships, she loved every minute of the cruise. If you are interested in the colorful history of Europe and China and Russia, then a Viking River cruise in the first class way to see any of those regions. Our ship the Viking Schumann was an older ship, but that did not matter. Everything was topnotch. The food was beyond excellent. There were two options for lunch every day. You could go to the dining room for a more formal lunch or eat in the lounge for a lighter fare. The talk on the Velvet Revolution was fascinating. The trip to the Terezin concentration camp was sobering, but it should not be missed for fear that history will repeat itself. The private concert in the Lobkowitz palace was fantastic as was the private lunch that we attended. We extended our stay for 2 days in Prague and the Kutna Hora is a side excursion that is fabulous. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2016
We wanted to explore the Elbe River in the eastern part of Germany. We had heard it was unique and were not disappointed in that regard. Because of the history of the region and after the reunification of Germany we wanted to get an ... Read More
We wanted to explore the Elbe River in the eastern part of Germany. We had heard it was unique and were not disappointed in that regard. Because of the history of the region and after the reunification of Germany we wanted to get an accurate accounting of how things are and were in that area. Our guides did not gloss over some difficult times which we much appreciated. The staff as in every VIking cruise so far went well out of their way to cover every detail and make our journey fantastic. Our cruise director, Emily was amazing. Chef cooked delicious meals and the German night was outstanding. Though an older vessel, it did not diminish in any way our experience. The dining room on the lower level was a bit dark with a handicapped assist lift blocking nearly half the stairs on one end. We loved the shore excursion of Wittenberg and just prior to the 200th anniversary of Martin Luther's famed revolt. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2016
Chosen b/c of my German heritage and historical interest. We experienced both the Fontanne and the Schumann due to low river level. The ships were identical and both crews were superb, but the crew on the Fontanne holds the edge for ... Read More
Chosen b/c of my German heritage and historical interest. We experienced both the Fontanne and the Schumann due to low river level. The ships were identical and both crews were superb, but the crew on the Fontanne holds the edge for friendliness, individual attention and the chef seemed to have a bit more pizzazz than the one on the Schumann. Though these were retiring ships from the line, they were up to date and clean and modern. Our cabin was comfortable and always well kept. The program director (who was with us on both ships) was excellent, especially at finding ways around the low water level with busses to extra attractions and lunch out. I really enjoy river cruising b/c you are within sight of land at all times with scenery to enjoy. I like the casual atmosphere and the cultural attractions brought on board - in this case lace making and folk dancing. The Silver Spirits package made for fun wine and single malt scotch tasing. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2016
Small ship, interesting part of Europe and an exceptional value. We traveled on the Clara Schumann during her last summer in service. The cabin and beds were small but they were well appointed. Our program director, Stephen Guy was ... Read More
Small ship, interesting part of Europe and an exceptional value. We traveled on the Clara Schumann during her last summer in service. The cabin and beds were small but they were well appointed. Our program director, Stephen Guy was outstanding, very attentive and possessing a Broadway quality singing voice if things got slow in the evening Stephen was there to liven things up. While the cabins were small by Viking standards, this ship was 25 years old, everything else was outstanding. As usual, the staff were attentive, the ship was kept immaculately clean and the common spaces were very comfortable. The Elbe River is my idea of an ideal river cruise. It's small, intimate with a slow current which presents a leisurely cruise. The section we cruised passes thru parts of the Czech Republic and the former eastern section of Germany. The small villages visited were clean and picturesque while cities such as Dresden were beautifully restored. I highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2016
We wanted to see Prague and Berlin thus chose the Elegant Elbe river cruise. We purchased the 2 day Berlin extension and would go back to Berlin. The cruise itinerary exceeded expectations as it was all in former Eastern bloc areas ... Read More
We wanted to see Prague and Berlin thus chose the Elegant Elbe river cruise. We purchased the 2 day Berlin extension and would go back to Berlin. The cruise itinerary exceeded expectations as it was all in former Eastern bloc areas thus very historic (in my lifetime). Viking did a great job with programs / speakers that could provide first hand experience with the Velvet Revolution. Cruise offered a combination of delightful rural cruising, small historic villages, larger cities, Lutherland, Saxony Switzerland, and large cities Prague and Berlin. The Elbe is a recreational river thus only a couple barges; mostly pleasure crafts. Food was outstanding combination of local favorites and classic entrees at all meals. Pre-cruise I found the itinerary provided lacking adequate detail to be useful - both printed materials and Viking website. I get that cruising can be unpredictable but at least provide a general idea of target times, like latest time likely to arrive at hotel from airport, for example. Schumann is a smaller ship which provided plenty of charm. Service, food, scenery was all was excellent. Cabins have twin beds - OK with us. Air condition in cabin didn't seem to remove humidity as expected. We look forward to our next river cruise on Viking. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We had been wanting to go to Prague and Berlin, as well as do a river cruise, so this was a perfect match! Several couples on the boat were repeat Viking passengers. Those who had done river cruises with other lines said that Viking is the ... Read More
We had been wanting to go to Prague and Berlin, as well as do a river cruise, so this was a perfect match! Several couples on the boat were repeat Viking passengers. Those who had done river cruises with other lines said that Viking is the best. We loved the cruise and the tip-top organization that Viking has. As the cruise is all-inclusive, we didn't have to worry about busting the budget with extra expenditures for shore excursions. They were all interesting, with local guides. Wine (at dinner and lunch!), is included, but to a non-drinker, I thought they were a bit heavy-handed with the alcohol. We liked the opportunity to get to know our fellow passengers (only 69 people on this boat). The staff was courteous, professional, and attentive to everyone's needs. The food overall was really good. Desserts to me were mediocre, however. Probably helped the waistline though! The demographics of Viking tend toward the older side. In our early-mid 60s, we were among the youngsters. We have already booked another Viking cruise, for next year, from Bucharest to Budapest. We have every confidence that we will enjoy it as thoroughly as we did this one. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was a long awaited cruise as our booking last year was cancelled due to lack of water in the river. It was well worth waiting for.The ship although one of the older ones in the fleet is immaculate.The staff and crew are excellent, ... Read More
This was a long awaited cruise as our booking last year was cancelled due to lack of water in the river. It was well worth waiting for.The ship although one of the older ones in the fleet is immaculate.The staff and crew are excellent, efficient, caring, and friendly. The program of visits is excellent with lots of variety and interest with extremely well informed guides. Some of the visits proved quite strenuous for some passengers but were enjoyed and appreciated by everyone. As usual all arrangements were taken care of by Viking, so everything worked like clockwork.Food on board was varied and of excellent quality and presentation.Lectures on board covered a wide range of subjects and were often presented by people with local and personal experience of the areas covered, from lace making to living through reunification.Add to all this the beauty of the country side and you have a perfect holiday. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2016
I chose this cruise as it visited parts of Germany that I didn't know very well and places that I wanted to revisit. I had been to Dresden and Meissen in 1992 when both were in a poor state of repair and I wanted to see how they had ... Read More
I chose this cruise as it visited parts of Germany that I didn't know very well and places that I wanted to revisit. I had been to Dresden and Meissen in 1992 when both were in a poor state of repair and I wanted to see how they had improved over time. I was also particularly interested in visiting Wittenberg. I chose a river cruise, as I prefer small ships and being able to go ashore every day. We arrived in Berlin mid-afternoon and were able to join a short walk around part of the city. there was also an interesting tour of Potsdam and Sans Soucci Palace and grounds before travelling to Magdeburg for embarkation, which went very smoothly. The cabin was a little smaller than I'd expected, but was comfortable and serviced well every day by the maid. There were always large bottles of water left in the cabin. The food on board was exquisite ~ I couldn't fault it. There was a large range to choose from at breakfast and at lunch time, you could either have a cooked meal served to you in the restaurant, or there you could have soup, salad, bread etc. in the Lounge. At dinner there were at least three choices for each course and if you wanted, you could have cheese and biscuits instead of, or as well as a dessert. There were also a few options for people who didn't like any of the daily choices. Free wine, beer and soft drinks were served with lunch and dinner and it was possible to help yourself to tea, coffee and hot chocolate throughout the day. Every evening there was entertainment provided, often by people from the town or city where we were moored. There were also various talks and videos if we were sailing during the day. One highlight was as we sailed into Dresden at night and Marco, the Entertainment Manager, told us about the floodlit buildings. The shore excursions were excellent, although it would have been nice if it had been possible to have a little free more time for souvenir shopping. The description of the cruise had said it wasn't suitable for people with mobility problems, but there was always an alternative arranged for those people who weren't quite as fit or agile. I was very grateful for this as I had a fall at the start of the holiday and by the end found walking very difficult. The crew and guides were extremely helpful to me. Would I go again? Without a doubt! That was my fourth Viking River Cruise and they have spoilt me for travelling with anyone else. The only thing that's stopping me is the single supplement! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We chose the cruise on the Elbe River to see a different part of Germany than we had seen on previous Danube and Rhine river cruises. The summer and fall of 2015 were very problematic for river cruises on the Elbe due to the extremely low ... Read More
We chose the cruise on the Elbe River to see a different part of Germany than we had seen on previous Danube and Rhine river cruises. The summer and fall of 2015 were very problematic for river cruises on the Elbe due to the extremely low water level. We were informed just 5 days before we were due to leave the USA that our itinerary would be greatly altered and that we might not actually sail. We were previously aware of the possibility but were a little frustrated by the lack of advance notice but found out that they were truly making the decisions to sail or not one day at a time. Viking offered us penalty free cancellation or a $1000 voucher if we chose to sail. As pleased past passengers on Viking, we chose to sail. We were pleasantly surprised when we got to the hotel for the overnight stay in Berlin to find that we would be sailing, how far to be determined on a day to day basis. We were fortunate to be able to sail the first half of the itinerary, ending the cruising portion of the trip in Dresden. Dresden was a beautiful city and we docked near the city center. The second half of the "cruise" we remained docked and took day trips to the planned destinations with slight modifications. By being able to sail half the route, we avoided a ship swap, Viking's way of handling cruises when the water level was not high enough to allow any sailing. While this was not the cruise we had planned, Viking and the individual crew members went out of their way to make it a great experience. There were only 37 passengers (out of a maximum of 112) so everyone was moved to staterooms on the upper deck. This meant an upgraded cabin for us and many others. Extra excursions were added like a paddle boat ride in Dresden to see a little more of the river where it was too shallow for the Schumann to sail. With the small number of passengers and the regular crew, we all got very personalized attention. Our city tour groups were very small as in most cities they kept the number of local tour guides the same despite our reduced numbers. It was interesting to learn about life in East Germany after WWII. Our local guides had parents and grandparent who had lived through the war. One guide, a religious scholar, related that his grandfather was in the German SS; he was not ashamed of this as his grandfather had no choice other than to join or be shot. The trip to Terezin, a Czech concentration camp, was sobering but served to remind us of the horrors of WWII. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our first river cruise. Viking was everything they advertised. The hotels in Prague and Berlin were outstanding. The food in the hotels and on the cruise was excellent. The crew and service was wonderful. We enjoyed the ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. Viking was everything they advertised. The hotels in Prague and Berlin were outstanding. The food in the hotels and on the cruise was excellent. The crew and service was wonderful. We enjoyed the excursions. The guides were very informative. The individual head phones on the excursions allowed us to hear all that was said. Our cabin was a little small, but adequate. The separate beds were small and not as comfortable as we experience on ocean cruises. We would have preferred a room arrangement with adjoining beds. The beds were really our only complaint. The small number of passengers was great. We got to know many of the travelers. It was so much nicer than dealing with 3,000 or more passengers on our ocean cruises. All in all Viking handled everything in a friendly and professional manner. We will definitely be back. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Having already greatly enjoyed a cruise on the River Duoro the previous October I couldn't wait to book on another one! My daughter expressed interest and we decided on the River Elbe sailing from Prague to Berlin taking in the extra ... Read More
Having already greatly enjoyed a cruise on the River Duoro the previous October I couldn't wait to book on another one! My daughter expressed interest and we decided on the River Elbe sailing from Prague to Berlin taking in the extra days in Berlin. Having lived in Berlin (and my daughter being born there) in the early sixties, the transformation was amazing! There is no doubt in my mind that Viking gets everything right. Service, cleanliness, and the right balance of culture built into the trips is spot on. Staff are friendly, attentive and see to every need. Food - fabulous, and again, anything you could wish for!! Must stop now as I'm off to Moscow tomorrow on the 'Waterways of theTzars' and have to pack.... Already wondering where to go next! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
We spent a few days before our cruise in Berlin and found it a very interesting city. The Pergamon Museum was exceptional and well worth a visit. The former East Germany was an area we had never explored and it did not disappoint. In ... Read More
We spent a few days before our cruise in Berlin and found it a very interesting city. The Pergamon Museum was exceptional and well worth a visit. The former East Germany was an area we had never explored and it did not disappoint. In many places you could still see how the years behind the Iron Curtain had affected the area. The Elbe River is a very small river making for an intimate experience with the countryside passing by. The river can be difficult to navigate as it is quite shallow and after dry spells can become impassable. Luckily we had enough water to allow us to cruise the entire length of the cruise. The Viking Schumann is one of the smaller ships, not a long ship, and it is a delightful little vessel. The cabins are a little smaller but certainly adequate and comfortable. The dining, as usual, was stellar. There was a great variety of shore excursions that took in both town and country. There was, of course, a lot of World War 2 history - Potsdam, Dresden, the concentration camp at Litomerice. The rebuilt Dresden is remarkable. Again the size of the ship was an advantage as getting the passengers off and on the ship was a quick process and we were frequently welcomed back to the ship with a snack or drink and hot towels. At the end of the cruise was the always lovely city of Prague. We chose not to stay longer than the one night here having visited Prague for a week previously but would recommend anyone who has not been before to spend a couple of extra days in Prague. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
We have taken eight Viking River Cruises. We chose the Elbe River because we had not done it before. We travel extensively in eastern and western europe on our own and only in the last few years have begun to cruise. We left from ... Read More
We have taken eight Viking River Cruises. We chose the Elbe River because we had not done it before. We travel extensively in eastern and western europe on our own and only in the last few years have begun to cruise. We left from Berlin and before we left we visited Berlin on our own. We had been to Berlin before but really enjoyed this visit. This cruise was just fantastic. The ship was older but very well maintained and comfortable. There were 112 passengers and the crew treated us as though we were the only ones on board. The hotel manager, and front desk people were extraordinary in the level of service they provided. The chef came out before and during dinner every night to describe dinner and then to check on the success of the meal. Outstanding!!! By the end of the cruise, we felt we knew this entire crew. The degree of personalized service and attention to detail--wedding and birthday celebrations--was so well done. We were treated very kindly. The excursions were excellent and well organized with a lovely welcome back on board with snacks and drinks everyday. Well done!!! When it came time to tip, it was very difficult to decide who deserved and extra tip. What a great trip. We have been to Russian, China twice, the Danube twice, the Rhine, France and we have also taken the Grand European cruise. I would recommend this cruise very highly. The embarkations and disembarkation process went very smoothly. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
For late March, the weather was perfect; sunny days. The hotels in Prague and Berlin were excellent, but you come on the cruise for the sailing of the Elbe. The cabin was also excellent. We thought more could have been made of the Elbe; ... Read More
For late March, the weather was perfect; sunny days. The hotels in Prague and Berlin were excellent, but you come on the cruise for the sailing of the Elbe. The cabin was also excellent. We thought more could have been made of the Elbe; Torgau and Magdeburg were overnight stops, but more could have been made of them. Torgau was where the Americans met the Russians in WW2. There are monuments to this meeting which we alone discovered in late evening. Also Magdeburg has a fantastic selection of architecture; again only discovered in the late evening, along with its shops (we needed some gifts). The morning visit to Worlitz, also very good, and coming back to the boat at Dessau for lunch. The boat could have moved 40 km upriver to Magdeburg, then the coach could have brought us back to Magdeburg for lunch, and had the whole afternoon in Magdeburg. It was really worth just more than an evenings visit. And the two thirds of a day by yourself in Berlin was also very good. We visited the Pergammon Museum and got to know the Berlin metro. Activities on board the boat were good, however it could have done with a good international quiz. Entertainment was moderate; Czech dancers. Overall, not as good as the Chinese Cruise, the Russian cruise or the Rhine Cruise, but still worth doing, and early season remarkable value at £1150 each person. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
My husband and I cruised on Viking Shumann along the Elbe River in March going from Magdeburg (Germany) to Melnik (Czech Republic). We extended our trip two-day before in Berlin and two-day after in Prague on our own. (You need to pay ... Read More
My husband and I cruised on Viking Shumann along the Elbe River in March going from Magdeburg (Germany) to Melnik (Czech Republic). We extended our trip two-day before in Berlin and two-day after in Prague on our own. (You need to pay Viking deviation fees if you choose this option.) This choice was more economical and convenient for us. Viking arranged our airfare. The ship was sold out. We booked a B category stateroom, which was on the lower level of the ship. We saw the Elbe River up close and personal. The stateroom was bit on the small side, but it had a large window. I enjoyed sitting by the windowsill and watching the sceneries go by. The room was comfortable and quiet. There were two twin beds, separated by a table. The temperature control was located on the side of the table. There’s not much closet space in the room, so we left most of our clothes inside our luggage and stored underneath the bed. Reading from the previous reviewers description of the bathroom, we were bit nervous about the drainage situation. We needn’t have worried. The bathroom floor was slanted slightly toward the drain so the water flowed toward it. While the floor mat did get wet, our wonderful housekeeper, Marija, always gave us fresh one every day. The amenities provided are from L’Occitane, and smells wonderful! The towels were all bit rough. I wished I had brought my own face towel from home. The food on the ship was excellent. Every night, the executive chef Bozhidar Bogdanov (affectionately called “Bobby”) told us what would be on the dinner menu. He was the most engaging chef we have ever met! Every serving staff was friendly and very pleasant. The dining room is communal so you can sit anywhere and with whomever you liked. We always end up sitting with the same group of people due to similar interest and taste. Drinks were included with the meals, but the wine selection wasn’t very good. There is chair-lift on each floor for those people with mobility issues. There’s not much entertainment on the ship. Evenings are laid back and mellow with occasional appearance of local performers and lectures. Peter is a one-man orchestra who played the digital synthesizer piano at the Observation Lounge every night. Once, when the ship docked at night in Torgau, we walked to the Hartenfels Castle and to the empty market square. It was bit strange to be walking around in the deserted streets in the dark. I wished I had brought my own flashlight from home, as Viking only had a few to hand out. Most evenings, my husband and I simply went back to our stateroom to look for the next day’s activity, or just watch TV. I brought a book to read but never opened it. There is sun deck, but it was too cold to go up there. The only time many of us went up was when we were sailing through the Saxon Switzerland and also when the ship was going through Dresden at night. The jagged sandstone mountains of Saxon Switzerland National Park were worth wearing our jacket/hat/gloves, and also when we sailed through the beautiful nighttime skyline of Dresden. The crew gave us hot ciders to chase the chills. The excursions on this cruise involved a lot of walking. A map of the port and the surrounding areas was available at the reception desk and all the passengers were provided with a bottle of water before leaving the ship. The places where we visited were all fascinating and full of history. Our Program Director, Bojan (pronounced “BoYan”) Bozic, was very knowledgeable and funny. Every night before dinner, he went over the next day’s event so we were all well prepared. The passengers were divided into three groups. An English speaking local guide accompanied each group. All the buses were comfortable and had bathroom. (Public bathroom requires .50e fee.) All the places on the itinerary were open (i.e. Sansouci Palace in Potsdam and Worlitz Garden in Dessau); however, everything was bare and lacked color, but the history of each place speak for itself. Eastern Europe in March was cold, damp and windy. A number of people came down with cold. One note of caution -- in Prague, especially on the Charles Bridge, it was VERY crowded! Between hordes of tourists from around the world, street performers/vendors, and beggars (who begged lying down), there are pickpockets. Always be aware of your surroundings and keep your wallet in a safe place. We were very surprised at how crowded the city was – and it wasn’t even a tourist season! I shudder to think what it would be like in the peak season. Also, try not to pay in large bills, as you won’t necessarily get the right change or the right currency back. (We were given a change in Costa Rica coin, which wasn’t even worth a penny.) Prague is very beautiful; as are all the cities we visited, i.e. Berlin, Wittenberg (under renovation for Martin Luther’s 500-year anniversary in 2017), Dresden, Saxon Switzerland, etc, etc. Both Germany and Czech Republic have seen hell and reborn to become the major tourist destinations of today. They are indeed worth visiting and sailing through the Elbe River is the way to go. Some helpful info: Currencies: Germany – uses Euro Czech Republic – uses Koruna (many places will accept Euros but will be more expensive) Gratuities: Local guides – 2e per person, per day Drivers – 1e per person, per day Ship’s staff – 12e per person, per day Program Director (who accompanied us everywhere) – 2e per person, per day Since this trip required a lot of Euro coins for the two of us, when we got to Berlin, we went to the Deutch Bank and got a roll of 2e and 1e each. It was very convenient. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
This is the first Viking ship we have been on. It Is an unusual one because all the ships on the Elbe are designed for this very shallow river. The ship is beautifully maintained and kept clean. I don't know when it was built but it ... Read More
This is the first Viking ship we have been on. It Is an unusual one because all the ships on the Elbe are designed for this very shallow river. The ship is beautifully maintained and kept clean. I don't know when it was built but it could have been yesterday. One night the captain gave us a briefing on the ship design and maintenance. The cabins are small, but adequate and, as far as I can tell, identical to the cabins on several of the Grand Circle ships that travel on larger rivers. The dining is a buffet at breakfast, both a sit-down and buffet at lunch, and a sit-down order from the menu at dinner. I did not realize how good the food was until we took a cruise on the Fathom Adonia which was poor to average - the food on the Viking ship was excellent. The service was superb from the entire crew, not just the waiters. The crew is small and you get to see the entire crew many times. There is a suggested tip at the end of the cruise, but we were delighted to give more. The other thing we liked was that we like was that the tip was divided by the entire crew, not just the wait staff. Wine was included at dinner. There was a soft drink package at the bar. The dinning room is in the bottom of the ship and does not have the views of the dining room on the other river ships. The Elbe trip is not excellent for several reasons. Most of the scenery on the river is flat and uninteresting - no castles of majestic views as on the Rhine and the Mosel. This is basically a tour of the old East Germany. However, the only time in Berlin was one afternoon and a one hour walking tour from the hostel after dark and a bus ride out of town the next morning. Absurd. There should be at least one day in Berlin to do the wonderful museums. We went to the Cecillienhof where the Potsdam Conference at the end of WWII was held. We stood outside in a light rain for the talk and never went inside! I left the tour and went inside - it was open. Strange. In Dresden we had a tour in the morning and then free in the afternoon. We learned that we could have had a tour of the glass Volkswagen factory, but you had to make reservations in advance - one couple on the ship had done this. We were never offered this chance. They need to have opportunities during "free time", even of we pay extra. There was an evening "port talk" but very little history about what we would be seeing the next day, except a little prior to visiting Wittenberg. If the guide accompanying the ship can't do that, they should hire an expert to tape a short 30 minute talk on the history that we will see the next day. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
This was my first river cruise and it was a delightful experience. I loved the small and intimate number of passengers and the resultant personalised service the wonderful crew members provided. There was no sense of rush or ... Read More
This was my first river cruise and it was a delightful experience. I loved the small and intimate number of passengers and the resultant personalised service the wonderful crew members provided. There was no sense of rush or commercialisation or lack of patience, but there were sufficient numbers of people to keep my interest and provide variety for the meals we took together. I didn't expect the Elbe to be so varied in its scenery and in its history. I also imagined it to be a smaller river than it is. So all was surprising. I was particularly taken by the sights around Saxony Switzerland, Dresden (despite the rain) and Wittenberg. Every place we stopped at was a milestone in European, world and Jewish history. So much of it was new to me. The crowning jewels of Potsdam and Berlin were the final icing on the cake. Fascinating places, with Berlin a real success story of a phoenix-like revival , but with an underlying heaviness of guilt, horror, sadness and still-to-this-day puzzlement at the brutality and inhumanity of some of the most cultured people in the world. I think the entire package -- itinerary, fantastic crew, very intelligent and personable local guides, excellent food from a surprisingly young chef (26!) was terrific value for money and highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
My wife and I took Viking's Elbe River cruise in August 2014. We were curious about river cruises, so we decided to try it for the first time. It was a marvelous experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We're still talking about ... Read More
My wife and I took Viking's Elbe River cruise in August 2014. We were curious about river cruises, so we decided to try it for the first time. It was a marvelous experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We're still talking about now, months later! The itinerary was Prague - Melnik (Terezin concentration camp) - Lovosice - Bad Schandau (Saxon Alps) - Dresden - Meissen - Torgau - Wittenberg (Martin Luther) - Dessau - Magdeburg - Potsdam - Berlin. This is the historic old Central Europe, off the beaten track from the usual tourist spots in Western Europe. Central Europe is full of historic sites and is comparatively "unspoiled" and authentic compared to the more modernized and gentrified West. It was a trip of lifetime to see these sights that we studied about in school and were unable to visit until the end of the Cold War. The River Elbe itself was a pleasure, a shallow, winding, gentle river passing through old villages and wide pasture land, scenery quite unlike what you would see on the Rhine or the Danube. We could go on and on about the sights, but suffice to say that the Elbe cruise is a unique and, for us, a consciousness-raising experience. One note about the Elbe River: it is shallow, and during certain river conditions can be too shallow for the boat to proceed, in which case the passengers are bussed to another point downstream where they can transfer to another boat in deeper waters. This sounds like a major inconvenience, and we were fortunate it didn't happen to us. It would be worthwhile to check with the cruise company about seasonal conditions before committing to a date of sail. What about the boat? We were on the Clara Schumann (so cool that they named a boat after a famous woman composer and pianist), a boat designed specially for the shallow waters. It is older and smaller, with about 110 passengers. Though it wasn't as new as the current ships, it was immaculate and functioned well in every respect. The crew was efficient and we had no complaints at all about the ship's systems. We booked late and could only get the smallest cabin, which had two separate single beds, like a college dorm room, and one large window. No problem! We adapted and were quite comfortable. The only time we were in the room much was to sleep at night anyway. The meals were all in the one main restaurant, with open seating. That was not as bad as I feared, because we eventually found people who were sympatico and we managed to sit at the same table most of the time. Everyone was relaxed and in a good mood, and the familiarity with the room and the servers made for enjoyable mealtimes. There was good variety with the food, but of course this small ship was not like the Crystal Symphony. But the kitchen did their best, and it was good enough for most. I'd say that on the whole the food was 3.5 to 4.0 on a scale of 5. We had no complaints. We learned that on any cruise you have to be flexible a bit and "bend with the wind" sometimes, rather than fight every little thing. The land tours were all very efficiently arranged, with comfortable buses and excellent tour guides who spoke excellent English. Every tour that we took (and there was always the option to stay aboard and just read a book or relax) was very interesting and well-planned. Our only regret was that there wasn't enough time to spend at certain places. We would have wanted a couple more hours at the Meissen factory. And we certainly could have stayed for more than one day in the stunning city of Dresden. But perhaps that's a problem that's inherent in any guided tour, especially one tied to a sailing schedule. It certainly made us want to come back, next time on a more leisurely land trip to certain cities. All in all, a wonderful cruise experience. We were most impressed with the entire ship's crew, from the cruise director on down. They were all approachable, genuinely friendly, and were concerned that we had the best cruise experience. The crew was one of the memorable highpoints of our cruise. One last note: Like many other cruises, the passengers were "of a certain age." My guess is that most were 65 or older, with a few notable exceptions of people in their 30's. The ship's crew accommodated everyone, and even anticipated the needs of those whose mobility was limited. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
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, ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
This was a very enjoyable holiday. The places we visited were all very interesting & the guides were, as usual with Viking, superb. The only downside was the low water level in the Elbe between Wittenberg & Meissen. This is not ... Read More
This was a very enjoyable holiday. The places we visited were all very interesting & the guides were, as usual with Viking, superb. The only downside was the low water level in the Elbe between Wittenberg & Meissen. This is not Viking's fault & they made up for it by bussing us to all the places advertised for the cruise plus an extra visit , to Leipzig. This obviously meant a lot of time on a bus instead of cruising so not as relaxing as we'd hoped particularly since we had to change ships, but, given the circumstances, Viking did an excellent job. This obviously is not the first time the water level was low but Viking had a well planned & executed Plan B. Apart from this, the rest of the cruise was wonderful. The food was particularly good. I am a Coeliac so cannot eat anything with wheat/gluten in it. No problem- the menu was adapted and all the staff knew I had to have gluten free food. All the staff were very friendly & exceptionally helpful. This was our third cruise & we've just booked another (on the Rhone). That says it all. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
Everything from the time we arrived at the Orlando airport, to the time we returned to the same, was professionally done. The ship was immaculate and the crew's friendly welcome set the tone for our cruise up the lazy Elbe River. ... Read More
Everything from the time we arrived at the Orlando airport, to the time we returned to the same, was professionally done. The ship was immaculate and the crew's friendly welcome set the tone for our cruise up the lazy Elbe River. The daily activities were interesting and well organized. The availability of different tours based on the physical ability of the passenger made it more enjoyable for all. The local guides provided many antidotes that enliven their presentations. It was truly a laid-back time, totally restful and enjoyable. The limited number of passengers made it possible to get acquainted with most of them. This added to our enjoyment The tables of ten for eating also enabled us to meet most of the passengers. The Captain and his principal subordinates were always available to the passengers. They were extremely friendly and open to answer any and all questions. The room, though small, (we were on a ship and this must be considered), had all the necessities: a comfortable bed, its own toilet and shower, and sufficient storage for the clothes we brought and items we bought. Housekeeping did a tremendous job keeping it immaculate. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. It made our celebration of our 50th anniversary very memorable. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
I had a fabulous first experience with Viking. By the evening of the first day the crew was already calling the guest by their name. The food was wonderful. By the second day I discovered the soup and salad bar in the lounge for lunch. The ... Read More
I had a fabulous first experience with Viking. By the evening of the first day the crew was already calling the guest by their name. The food was wonderful. By the second day I discovered the soup and salad bar in the lounge for lunch. The entertainment was very good and did an excellent job of incorporating local talent. The young lady that took care of the cabin was delightful and creative. She made me a birthday cake out of towels for my birthday. I have already signed up for trip next June. I met so many guest that were delightful to converse with. Learned so much about their cultures and life lessons. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
I was a newly minted 61-year old and my daugheter was nigh onto 40, and from the Viking River Cruise advertisements, we were expecting the passengers to be in the same age range. Imagine our surpise when they were more like in their ... Read More
I was a newly minted 61-year old and my daugheter was nigh onto 40, and from the Viking River Cruise advertisements, we were expecting the passengers to be in the same age range. Imagine our surpise when they were more like in their 70's or higher! My daughter said she felt like she'd just step into the casting call for the movie "Cacoon"! Since we're were on the ship way too much do to cruising WAY too slow up the Elbe River and thus were spending tons of time with the other passengers, it did have a negative impact for us and our expectations. And since it was always communcal dining, you were always stuck listening about someone's recent ailments, what they did in high school (who cares?!), etc. And there's no room service, so it was either skip the meal or eat as fast as you could to escape. The food, crew, excursions, rooms, etc. were all top notch - not a compliant there at all. The hotels were really nice and all of the airpost transferes were done really well. Another thing we noticed is that on VRC's itinerary ads, they talk about you visitng various ports, but they never say how long you'll actually be at the port, and due to us being on the "slowboat to China", we were very dissapoiinted in how little time we had in the various cityies along the way. I'd rather have a speedier boat and stay longer in the variuos ports than vice versa! The room was nice, albeit small; but it's a small ship so that it can cruise the Elebe river. But there was a good deal of storage for as small it was. The housekeeping staff were absolutely amazing, couldn't have been friendlier or more helpful. Read Less
Viking Schumann Ratings
Category Editor Member
Rates 3.0 3.8

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