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Sail Date: October 2016
Enjoyed the cruise and crew were really great. Sebastian was informative and very helpful. The chef and servers were friendly, efficient, and would have nothing but great words for all of them. Always service with a smile and asking ... Read More
Enjoyed the cruise and crew were really great. Sebastian was informative and very helpful. The chef and servers were friendly, efficient, and would have nothing but great words for all of them. Always service with a smile and asking what could they get you or how could they help you. This was my second Viking River cruise - my first was to Russia Czar about six or so years ago. Tours and guides are always so informative - learn so much on the tours. And for two women traveling together you always feels safe. My travel companion has traveled on over 7 Viking River cruises. Liked the size of the ship and it was easy to make friends and recognize fellow travelers. Would certainly recommend Viking - in fact I've book another cruise February 25th out of Rome going to Barcelona. This will be my first ocean cruise with Viking. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2016
We were excited about taking our first cruise on a river plus we wanted to learn more about Eastern Europe and see key cities such as Berlin & Prague. Our one disappointment was to find at the last minute there would not be a short ... Read More
We were excited about taking our first cruise on a river plus we wanted to learn more about Eastern Europe and see key cities such as Berlin & Prague. Our one disappointment was to find at the last minute there would not be a short cruise which we had expected, but no cruising due to low water on the Elbe. We were docked at Wittenberg for 4 days and then switched to the sister ship in Dresden for the final 3 days. It was a very efficient & smooth transition which was tied in with our touring. Having said that, it was an absolutely fantastic trip! The ships Fontane & Schuman were very nice, clean ships. The staff personnel were so friendly and helpful, especially those on the Fontane. We cannot say enough good about them and Candy, our Program Director. They kept us laughing and had very high positive energy. Dining was very good and the entertainment was fine. Viking shined with their shore excursions providing us with additional tours due to not cruising. Our added day in Leipzig was a definitely high point of the week. The tour guides overall were very high quality and so informative about the cities' and peoples' history. What particularly impressed us was some shared their personal life stories of what it was like to live under communist rule. Viking's care for us at both the beginning and end of the tour was very efficient and our hotels in Berlin and Prague were high quality. The passenger mix of age was okay and expected. Most everyone seemed to manage the pace and length of the excursions. We got a little spoiled because only 65 passengers were on the ship (capacity 112) which made for a much more intimate, friendly group. We met several wonderful people which made the experience even richer. This was our first River cruise (non-cruise - ha!) but, yes, we would definitely cruise again. Thank you Viking for making the best of the situation! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2016
We had not been to Berlin or Prague, and the price was excellent! My husband and I are very interested in history. Each port had such significance to us, and the guides were all very knowledgeable, and were able to give us their ... Read More
We had not been to Berlin or Prague, and the price was excellent! My husband and I are very interested in history. Each port had such significance to us, and the guides were all very knowledgeable, and were able to give us their perspective of the area and events. They were able to bring alive the events of 70 years ago. The art museums were of particular interest also. Our guide was able to give is wonderful and unhurried tours. We didn't just see the most popular paintings, but those that had particular impact on society and art history. The Elbe is one of the prettier rivers, and we spent a lot of the cruising time on the top deck, where we had unobstructed views of the scenery. The closer to Prague we traveled, the lusher the landscape, and we could see people camping and fishing on the shore. We always look forward to the meals on the cruises. The chef makes every effort to challenge our palates at each meal. I was impressed at how much effort the staff made to ensure the people with dietary issues were well served. We made friends with a couple, one of which was a vegan. At every meal, the dining room manager or chef would come to her table to inform her of the menu items that were compatible with her dietary requirements! And of course, the crew was so accommodating and genuinely friendly. They would go out of their way each day to ensure we Had everything we needed to enjoy our cruise Read Less
Sail Date: July 2016
We had done a Rhine River Cruise with Viking and thought this would be a nice trip in July with warmer weather that our last trip in November. We started with 3 nights at the Grand Hyatt in Berlin, which was far above our expectations. ... Read More
We had done a Rhine River Cruise with Viking and thought this would be a nice trip in July with warmer weather that our last trip in November. We started with 3 nights at the Grand Hyatt in Berlin, which was far above our expectations. The Elbe was much quieter than the busy Rhine and we enjoyed much more than the Rhine. It was very relaxing to sit on the top deck and watch the storks, campers along the river and the fishermen. We had a Great staff on the board the Boat with no disappointments, Our room was small and at first glance we wondered if we would like it or not, but it became more than adequate and was very quaint. Meals were good, with plenty of free beer, wine, or soft drinks. Excursions were interesting and well run. We stayed two extra days in Prague and enjoyed every minute. A special Thanks to Miriam Hinrichs and Jelo for making the trip memorable. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2016
This was our fourth Viking cruise and ranks as #1 for us. The trip was a short notice one for us since we received a very attractive deal from Viking. The trip itself went off without a hitch. We especially enjoyed having a night in a ... Read More
This was our fourth Viking cruise and ranks as #1 for us. The trip was a short notice one for us since we received a very attractive deal from Viking. The trip itself went off without a hitch. We especially enjoyed having a night in a 5-star hotel at both the beginning and the end of the cruise and a chance to explore both Prague and Berlin. The ship "Fontane" was what they called a Classic Ship (25 years old) so the cabins were a little smaller than we had previously enjoyed on our other trips. However, the level of service more than made up for the small cabin. Everyone was wonderful and by the end of the cruise we felt like we were leaving family. One of the nice things about the Elbe cruise was that we never had to buy another excursion. The excursions included in the cruise were great and right on target. Because we had never been in the former GDR, it was especially nice to be able to interact with the guides and guest speakers about their experiences under a split Germany and a Unified one. If you are looking for a fast paced tour, the Elbe trip probably isn't for you. We enjoyed the little slower pace and time to simply sit on the sun deck and watch the beautiful scenery go by. It was almost like being on a gondola versus a cruise ship because the river isn't very busy and you just glide along listening to the birds. Dining was terrific and elegantly served and by the second night the bar tender knew what I drank and had it waiting for me when i came in. On a final note we flew Brussels Air back to the US and found it to be much more relaxing than the cattle cars US flag carriers fly. I'd certainly recommend this cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was our first river cruise. It went on the Elbe River - Berlin to Prague. The average age on this ship was people in their 70's. This, of course, slows down the pace and extent of the tours and limits the activities on the ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. It went on the Elbe River - Berlin to Prague. The average age on this ship was people in their 70's. This, of course, slows down the pace and extent of the tours and limits the activities on the ship. This old ship, with limited facilities, does not represent Viking very well. The only exercise you get is on the land tours, and, as stated, the pace is relatively slow. There is no gym and no walking or jogging tract on the boat. And the pace of the walking tours is slow. The rooms are tiny by todays's standards and the beds are small and separated, That's right, husband and wife sleep separately. Most people lived out of their suitcases, as there was very little storage of closet space in the rooms. This means that you stow away your luggage under your individual beds and pull out the luggage each time you need to access your clothing, Now, one of the most unsatisfying part of an Elbe River cruise is that this river has had low water levels for the last 2 years. This means that there is a likelihood that you will spend part of your river cruise on a bus tour as the boat will be diverted to a town and stay docked there and your itinerary will be completed by buses. This results in 2 bad effects. One is that you do not enjoy gliding down the river for the portion that is on diversion. It also means that part of the day or days of diversion are wasted spending time on a bus. River cruises are supposed to take you up close to the places being visited. When you are diverted, you end up with long bus rides for your tours, just as happens with ocean cruises that must dock at some distance from the places of interest. The long bus rides are not fun and it takes away from the time you can visit the places of interest. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2016
This advertised Elbe River cruise special vastly exceeded our expectations. The Fontane is an older ship, but it was comfortable and has been very well maintained. It was well suited to the low water conditions that sometimes can make ... Read More
This advertised Elbe River cruise special vastly exceeded our expectations. The Fontane is an older ship, but it was comfortable and has been very well maintained. It was well suited to the low water conditions that sometimes can make travel difficult along the Elbe. Unlike my last River cruise on the Danube, this trip went perfectly per the plan.The entire crew was so friendly and co-operative that I can't say enough nice things about them. Chef Bobby was excellent (as was his food), our cruise director (Ric Jones) was excellent, and I have never observed a Captain who was so personally engaged in the operation of his ship as Martin Bousa (not to mention so honest in answering questions and so interactive with his passengers). We totally enjoyed the ship, itinerary, staff & crew, food and fellow passengers on this cruise. The wife and I have been on many cruises - and this was one of the best. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2016
Viking had a great price offering for the Elegant Elbe Cruise. We booked this trip with 2 other couples. Viking arranged our flights together. All travel went smoothly and the transfers were right on time. The bus driver from the airport ... Read More
Viking had a great price offering for the Elegant Elbe Cruise. We booked this trip with 2 other couples. Viking arranged our flights together. All travel went smoothly and the transfers were right on time. The bus driver from the airport who introduced us to Prague was so interesting right from the start. The tour guide for the city of Prague was excellent. All these pluses before we even got on the river. The origin in Prague with an overnight in one of my favorite European cities was a quick attraction. The stops along the river looked interesting but I did not know much about the locations. The finish in Berlin with an overnight was again appealing. The cruise along the River Elbe and the site/cities visited were better than I expected. The most impressive component was the excellent crew and tour director. Bravo to all, we were taken care of so well all the way. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
After avoiding Viking for several years because we could not stand their TV adverts, our minds were changed by the very positive recommendations of several friends. We were not disappointed. The only reason we did not award five stars was ... Read More
After avoiding Viking for several years because we could not stand their TV adverts, our minds were changed by the very positive recommendations of several friends. We were not disappointed. The only reason we did not award five stars was the tiny cabin with two single beds, but we were adv ised that this ship s being withdrawn at the ned of the 2016 season. We had the opportunity to wander around a new Viking boat and the acommodation seemed to be up to a much better standard. Other than the cabin issue, we could not fault the cruise. The staff and Cruise Director could not be more helpful, the food was excellent and the tours well thought through with very good guides. Although we lost a days cruising (but not a day on board) due to low water in the Elbe, we were advied that the new ships have less draught and the itineraries are being revised for next season. Would we travel again with Viking? We've already booked! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2016
We wanted to see eastern Germany, the Elbe River and Prague . The staff on board the ship were very helpful, professional and made for a great cruise. We extended pre cruise in Berlin. It was great. The Berlin Grand Hyatt was ... Read More
We wanted to see eastern Germany, the Elbe River and Prague . The staff on board the ship were very helpful, professional and made for a great cruise. We extended pre cruise in Berlin. It was great. The Berlin Grand Hyatt was awesome. The Viking staff could have been a little more helpful with explaining use of public transportation. The Grand Hyatt was centrally located. We also extended post cruise in Prague. The Corinth Hotel was very dated and THE AIR CONDITIONING DID NOT WORK. We sent comments on the AC to Viking after the cruise but received no response. The Corinth is very distant from the old city sights. Even though Viking provided a shuttle it was inconvenient. The extension was definitely not worth $500 per person. I would do Prague on our own if I were to do it again. The Viking concierge staff in Prague was very helpful. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2016
My wife chose the cruise because we wanted to see Germany (where our ancestors came from) and see where Martin Luther lived because we were both of the Lutheran Faith. Both which were fulfilled on this amazing cruise. We had a great time ... Read More
My wife chose the cruise because we wanted to see Germany (where our ancestors came from) and see where Martin Luther lived because we were both of the Lutheran Faith. Both which were fulfilled on this amazing cruise. We had a great time saw lots of interesting places and learned a lot. The crew was more than helpful and went out of their way to make the trip a wonderful holiday for us. They made us feel that they were having as good a time as we were. All of the little things, like being welcome back to the ship by the captain and crew after each excursion with a little refreshment. The little treats left in our rooms by the housekeeping staff. The entertainment each evening and of course the food and beverages, They were beyond anything we expected. We were happy that the walking was included in the outings as we may have gained a bit of weight from the fabulous meals provided, It's no wonder you were chosen as the worlds best cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2016
Bucket list cruise with brothers & son. Overall, very good. Staff was excellent, ship was below expectations. Ship did not meet standards established by Viking on Russia and China cruises. Understand Viking is building new ships ... Read More
Bucket list cruise with brothers & son. Overall, very good. Staff was excellent, ship was below expectations. Ship did not meet standards established by Viking on Russia and China cruises. Understand Viking is building new ships for Elbe River Cruises and Fontane will be sold. If true, it's overdue. Recommend you book extra night(s) in Berlin and Prague to explore these cities. You can do this through Viking or on your own. We didn't book extra time in Berlin and regret it. The Berlin experience was only a bus ride from the airport to the hotel and a bus ride to the boat the next day. Recommend you see the Reichstag, Hitler's bunker, the Berlin wall and Checkpoint Charlie. In Prague, it was a little better with a city tour included, We extended for four days on our own and explored Prague in more detail, spent a day in Kutna Hora (highly recommended), and visited the home village of our grandfather. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
An area that we had looked forward to visiting and past reputation of Viking helped us decide to register for this cruise. However, we never sailed and instead were stranded in a remote location on the river. We don't fault ... Read More
An area that we had looked forward to visiting and past reputation of Viking helped us decide to register for this cruise. However, we never sailed and instead were stranded in a remote location on the river. We don't fault Viking for high water conditions on the river; however, they were aware of the "no sail" order before we left home and chose not to inform us until we were on a bus enroute to the remote docking with no cell service available. All excursions were attempted by bus on curvy mountainous roads with long rides and shortened enrichment times. If we needed to use the inadequate restrooms (without toilet paper on one stop), we missed a large percentage of the tour. Consequently, we had little time to enjoy life on board. The staff was not trained to handle exceptional circumstances, and did not communicate current conditions to us. On three nights we had to pack up to stay at a hotel instead of staying onboard. At one hotel I contracted food poisoning and had to be hospitalized, resulting in discomfort, expenses, as well as further missed excursions. The final insult has been less than appropriate response from Viking's customer service. We have only been told that they have decided not to refund any portion of our expenses for this trip. There has not been any sign of regret for the unfortunate experience. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2016
This was my retirement cruise but unfortunately a few weeks before departure, I developed problems with the tendons in my feet which made walking extremely difficult and painful. This could have dramatically impacted upon our enjoyment ... Read More
This was my retirement cruise but unfortunately a few weeks before departure, I developed problems with the tendons in my feet which made walking extremely difficult and painful. This could have dramatically impacted upon our enjoyment of this cruise but the whole Viking Team on board, and in particular the Programme Director , could not have been more helpful and understanding. Nothing was too much trouble - e.g. a leisure version of the walking tours was developed wherever possible. He also took on the role of " official wheel chair pusher " at times and showed me round the delights of the Museums in Prague to enable my husband to go on the walking tour. All flight and transfer arrangements worked wonderfully well as Viking had booked me through with special assistance.The hotels in Prague and Berlin were excellent. The Fontane was a lovely ship and just right for our first cruise - it was not too big; it was very comfortable and easy to get to know; our cabin allowed me to rest my feet while watching the world go by on the river - and I was hooked on crusing from that moment. The staff at all levels were wonderful and they very quickly got to know our individual preferences and greeted us so warmly. The food on board was delicious, varied and generous - the themed evenings were gloriously tasty and entertaining with all the crew getting into the swing. I thought the balance between shore excursions, onboard taks/ entertainment and down time was just right. The tour guides and guest speakers were all very knowledgeable and got the balance right between interesting information and anecdotes without overload.Despite my mobility probelms, I felt that I had been helped and indeed encouraged to enjoy all that was offered. I was sorry when the cruise was over so quickly and had it been possible I would have stowed away on the reurn trip from Berlin back to Prague. We enjoyed it so much that on returning home we booked our second cruise for next Spring from Amsterdam to Basel. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2016
Having seen the cruises advertised on TV I rang for a brochure. When it arrived a thought the cruise too expensive for the number of days. I later received a flyer offering £1000 off per person and rang to book the cruise that appealed to ... Read More
Having seen the cruises advertised on TV I rang for a brochure. When it arrived a thought the cruise too expensive for the number of days. I later received a flyer offering £1000 off per person and rang to book the cruise that appealed to us the most. We flew from a local airport which with hindsight was a mistake as it meant a transit stop in Amsterdam on both journeys. Flights would have been direct had we travelled from Heathrow. The Hotels we stayed in at Berlin and Prague were excellent. The organisation was the best we have ever experienced. The excursions and guides were faultless, informative and helpful. The places we visited were very interesting and the on board entertainment related to the trips, The resident pianist was very good and did his best to please everyone with their choice of music. Our Cruise Director Radim was amazing, he worked tirelessly to ensure that every single passenger had a wonderful time. Nothing was too much trouble for anybody at any time day of night. From the time we arrived at the Viking Fontane we were treated like royalty by every single crew member from the Captain to the people who washed the dishes and did the laundry. It was the friendliest boat we have ever been on with a very happy crew. We were welcomed on to the boat over red carpet by the whole crew.It was pouring with rain so we were escorted on by crew members wielding umbrellas and taken to our cabins..The cabin was small but extremely clean and comfortable water was supplied as required. The whole boat was scrupulously clean. The dining experience was superb. Excellent quality, fabulous variety and choice of beautiful meals, lovely food and first class service. The bar manager and our waitress Laura were top notch, serving good wines and beers plus any thing else we wanted. There were several occasions for champagne cocktail parties and every time we returned to the boat after excursions our lovely hospitality manager was on deck serving us hot drinks with a little dash of something special! From start to finish our every need was catered for: a gift of toiletries to thank us for our booking, a lovely travel pack and personalised itinerary, with leather luggage labels and a cross body bag, etc; before we left home. All in all one of the best cruises we have ever been on. We fully intend to travel with Viking again. Thank you. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Low water in the Elbe meant that Viking had not sailed for 3 months. Half of our passengers, when given the opportunity, cancelled their trip, in the expectation that the ship would not sail. We chose to go ahead and we were rewarded ... Read More
Low water in the Elbe meant that Viking had not sailed for 3 months. Half of our passengers, when given the opportunity, cancelled their trip, in the expectation that the ship would not sail. We chose to go ahead and we were rewarded with an actual sail, merely failing to sail to the last port. All excursions took place and the staff worked tirelessly to make the cruise a success. The tour director was excellent and really made it a memorable tour. The river, itself, is not very busy and the scenery is rather samey, but there are good sections to the river. The beauty of this tour is the visit to many areas which were previously in East Germany and behind the Iron Curtain. This was very interesting. We particularly enjoyed the visit to the Meissen factory, and a visit to the lovely and interesting city of Dresden. We wouldn't go back, but only because we have now seen all we want to on the River Elbe. Great food on board throughout. Visits from local activities providing an enriching experience. All excursions were included. The was great value for money. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our second Viking river cruise. Our first Viking cruise last year on the Danube was excellent, so we were excited about this Elbe cruise. Unfortunately the Elbe River was too shallow to do any actual cruising, but the ships ... Read More
This was our second Viking river cruise. Our first Viking cruise last year on the Danube was excellent, so we were excited about this Elbe cruise. Unfortunately the Elbe River was too shallow to do any actual cruising, but the ships Fontane and the Schumann were used as "floating hotels" from which excellent tours were made via tour buses. The hotels assigned by Viking for our Prague arrival and Berlin departure were excellent. The airport transfers by Viking were flawless Both ship's accommodations were excellent for this cruise even though having to stay docked. The staff arranged a river cruise for a day on a smaller, shallow-draft steam paddle wheeler, so we did have a nice cruise that day. The staff insured we had provided terrific onboard and tour activities, all of which were interesting and fun. The entire staff, Captain, Hotel Manager, Program Director, Housekeeping, Maitre d' and restaurant/bar staff and the superb Chefs, were all first Class! We had no particular personal theme for this cruise; We were so happy with our earlier Viking cruise that we wanted to experience another. (Did I mention we have already booked another Viking Cruise for 28 March-09 April 2016). We enjoy meeting some of the fun, interesting new people on this our earlier Viking cruise. Arrival and departure procedures were all trouble-free, smooth, fast, and efficient. We have already booked and are excited about our next Viking cruise (Netherlands: Windmills and Tulips) this March and April 2016. Once again we've booked another Cruise Post-Extention. We love the extra time in a wonderful hotel prior to the long return flight home. Viking is a WINNER! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
September 2015 was our first Viking River Cruise and we thought the Elba River was a grest choice. The Viking travel folks were grest to work with at every step. This included the fact that the Elba River was too low to cruise. This ... Read More
September 2015 was our first Viking River Cruise and we thought the Elba River was a grest choice. The Viking travel folks were grest to work with at every step. This included the fact that the Elba River was too low to cruise. This information did not deter us and we were so glad we went. We spent days on both the Viking Fontane and the Viking Schumann and the staff could not have better. From the greeting at the Berlin airport through departure in Prague every moment was terrific. While we missed the actual cruising everything else exceeded our expectations. The staff on each boat, Sonny and Valentina are just two of the staff that were totally dedicated to a great customer experience. Matthew, our cruise director/host was great at very step. Speaking of steps all of the walking tours to the historic sites were very manageable and the local guides were fun, knowledgeable and very articulate. This trip was so much fun we are going with Viking again in October 2016 on the Douro River to cruise in Portugal and visit Spain. Thank you Viking for a great trip and see you in a few months in portugal. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
After cruising on 5 rivers with Viking I have to say that the Elbe is not my favorite. Very little river traffic made for uninteresting travel and the scenery for the first three days changed little, just fields and trees with few villages ... Read More
After cruising on 5 rivers with Viking I have to say that the Elbe is not my favorite. Very little river traffic made for uninteresting travel and the scenery for the first three days changed little, just fields and trees with few villages or scenic views. Although we were aware of the water level problem on the Elbe we were not aware its seriousness. As were many this year, we were disappointed with only three days of river cruising and four days of busing around the countryside. Viking did well with the travel arrangements and a few extra optional tours but it was not the relaxing enjoyable cruise we had been hoping for. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
The cruise on the Elbe was our first river cruise and first experience with Viking. The biggest problem we had was that somehow, even though I had emailed our flight arrangements to two Viking employees at their request and paid the ... Read More
The cruise on the Elbe was our first river cruise and first experience with Viking. The biggest problem we had was that somehow, even though I had emailed our flight arrangements to two Viking employees at their request and paid the rather expensive transfer fees (more than the hotels charged), we were not on the list to be picked up at the airport. The Viking employee who had arrived to pick up a later group told us that we would have to provide written documentation that we had paid the fees or that we could take a taxi. She did not handle the situation well at all, and we were angry at the way we were treated and got off to a bad start with Viking. However, once that was settled, the cruise was wonderful! The Prague hotel was lovely but not convenient to the city but the shuttle buses worked okay. The one we wanted to take back to the hotel was full, and we barely got seated. Perhaps a more walkable location would work better. The staff was so polite and warm and did a wonderful job with keeping our rooms clean and feeling us magnificently, even with special requests. I even got a lesson in making animals out of towels from sweet Cristian. We are accustomed to leading student tours and enjoyed having someone else do the planning and prior arranging of entrances and tour guides. We know the work that is involved and appreciated being able to just enjoy them! My husband is already wanting to go on another cruise but only with Viking! Water level being low changed embarkation plans but it was handled well. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
This was our second Viking River cruise. Did a pre-trip extension in Berlin which was fab. Right in the heart of the city @ the Hilton, w/i walking distance of great food and prominent sights. Saw the Queen of England, spent a day in ... Read More
This was our second Viking River cruise. Did a pre-trip extension in Berlin which was fab. Right in the heart of the city @ the Hilton, w/i walking distance of great food and prominent sights. Saw the Queen of England, spent a day in the main train station just train watching & exploring, and enjoying sight, sounds & tastes of Berlin. On to Potsdam, our ship & headed to Wittenberg. My wife had a slight mishap and tripped going up the stairs from the dining room, and badly bruised her left leg and knee. For the rest of the trip, Sandy was the toast of the whole staff, with one staffer offering to give Sandy a shower. After a few days she was using a wheel chair to get around, but I continued to see the sight at every port. As we headed south on the Elbe, the water level kept dropping so that by the time we got to Meisen, we had to stop and do our remaining tours totally by bus, which was ok. We understand from local service providers that this happens frequently on the Elbe in summer. Plus we were in a major heat wave with temps getting to 95F (however, we were given a nice cash incentive when we book our next trip). Got to Prague where we also extended. My highlight was staying with Family in Litvinov & seeing where my families were from in Masti & Ujezd nod Zbecknem. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Believe what you read about the Elbe. She is not the Danube, the Rhine or the Volga. We read about low water levels prior to our trip and called Viking in California. They have mastered the art of the vague response with quotes like, ... Read More
Believe what you read about the Elbe. She is not the Danube, the Rhine or the Volga. We read about low water levels prior to our trip and called Viking in California. They have mastered the art of the vague response with quotes like, "As far as we know now"; "Not at this time"; "Anything can happen"; and "It remains to be seen if...". When asked why the paddle steamers were apparently stuck at the docks in Dresden (ships that can travel in less water than Viking's ships), they denied knowing of that issue. At the time of their denial, Viking's Elbe voyage was halted twice, once before Dresden and at the Czech border. That was reported personally by the Viking Program Director sitting in the hotel in Berlin on the day our trip began! As passengers were landing in Germany, they received an email reporting that the Viking Shumann would not arrive as planned and the Fontane would replace her. The reason...the Shumann "could not get to Magdeburg (Berlin port) in time". No mention of critically low water levels on the Elbe, just that the Fontane is a similarly configured ship. On day 8, we traveled an hour by bus between Decin and Litomerice alongside the Elbe and witnessed ZERO river traffic except for one kayak and a single sailboat. There is no doubt in my mind Viking knew about the situation well in advance. I emailed Viking customer relations twice in Germany and got NO RESPONSE WHATSOEVER! We are big fans of the Viking brand and this was a big letdown for us! Why then do I award Viking three stars for this cruise? For us, the disruption was minimal. Since it rained every day in Germany, we had no stoppages until Decin. Two hours round trip by bus and sleeping on the Fontane was not a huge deal. We saw the same scenery from the bus and it was not remarkable. Our two hour bus ride into Prague was not much of a hassle either. And the Viking staff aboard the Fontane was remarkably wonderful! Great food, great service and wonderful guests. We have always been thrilled with Viking's staff members aboard ship. The land excursions were very well done by excellent guides whom we tipped generously. Berlin's saving grace was the history of the failed Communist system and the struggle to unify. We stayed one extra night and two days total was fine. The remaining German stopovers were well worth the visits and very interesting. The Saxony Switzerland land tour was a great hike! PRAGUE was the highlight! We stayed the one planned night at the Corinthia with Viking. It was clean and comfortable, but well out of the Old Town center. Half-hourly shuttle buses did not cut it in our minds. We had booked three extra nights at the Maximilian, just a great six minute walk from the Old Town Square and the Charles Bridge. We could have stayed three more nights in this gem of Eastern Europe! We hired a local guide and she was terrific, showing us out-of-the-way corners of this beautiful city. In total: nice voyage, great staff and very disappointing Viking senior management. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 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 too low weeks before that. Did viking notify the passengers and give them the option to cancel or re book? No!  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! Beware! 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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 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
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