We were a grouip of six on the Viking Beyla Elbe River cruise in early June - One night in a nice Berlin Hotel (Steigenberger), seven nights aboard the Viking Beyla and One night at the end at the Prague Hilton. We arrived a week ealry and stayed in the outstanding Hotel Adlon in Berlin and stayed 5 days after in Prague in the Hotel Augustine to extend the trip. The Viking Beyla is a new smaller version of the Viking Longships which was built for traveling on the shallower Elbe River - see ship review below.
Sadly when we had boarded the ship our outstanding Viking Program Director Radim and the ship's captain had the unhappy task of announcing that the river level was so low that the ship would not be able to sail as scheduled. So for four days we were in Mandenburg and Radim (and would guess large Viking support group somewhere) had to reorganize the schedule day by day to somewhow still offer coach tours to several of the sights we had been scheduled to sail to (the distances are not as great between stops as one would think). Viking has a fleet of deluxe coaches and great drivers who with Radim and his staff did the very best possible to be sure we were offered as much as possible while our river cruiser became a riverside hotel.
We cannot say enough about the grace under pressure Radim and the Viking people handled all this last minute problem of making the very best of the no sailing/water level problem. Once we were able to sail it was a 3 day joy. Unfortunately the vistas on the earlier part of the trip are mostly flat farmland. Only when you get further up the river in Saxony do you get the beautiful mountains, castles, etc that you hope for but this was all cut short because of the schedule changes necessary. All in all it was a sad disappointment not to have been able to really enjoy the river cruise we had been looking forward to for so long.
VIKING BEYLA as mentioned is beautiful and new. It is beautifully appointed and has a nice feel carrying only 98 passengers. The rooms are modern sleek, well appointed and well designed although on the small size as on all river ships. The forward main lounge opens up to include a nice outdoor covered terrace on the bow (a great pianist entertains). The dining room one deck below also has great windows thus is bright and well laid out for one sitting open dining. The food is just outstanding - all meals. Thanks to the great chef and his staff.
The ships entire staff is tops and do everything possibnle to make you feel at home. In particular we salute Georgi who was both behind the bar and in the dining room and made sure the very nice wines kept flowing with his jolly smile. Our waiter Pater (as all the dining room staff) was on top of everything as was Andrea who was the main overseer in the bar. Viti our room stewardess was as good as it gets.
So cheers to Viking, the Beyla and all the staff who were great in a unfortunate situation. I cannot rate shore excursions in that they were all not as planned and cannot give this trip a five star excellent that it surely would have been had we been able to make the planned schedule.
We would love to do this again someday when it is an actual river "cruise".
Very cozy - very nicely appointed, a great bed, well planned bathroom/shower and very well serviced.
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