We have previously sailed with Viking on the Rhine, Rhone & in Bordeaux (+ 2 ocean cruises) and thought the Elegant Elbe might be good too. The landscapes at the south end were spectacular (especially the Bastei rock formation which soars above the Elbe) but the further north you go, it was cruising in a ditch through farmland. It was interesting to see the slow pace of economic development in the former East Germany, even after 30 years of reunification. The rebuilt city of Dresden is impressive, as is Wittenberg. In preparation for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Wittenberg was given a major face lift. All utilities were buried. Not a wire or satellite dish to be seen. It's a very pleasant walking town.
I would definitely skip the pre-cruise "package" in Prague if I was planning the trip again. It consisted of nothing more than two extra nights in an overpriced hotel room ($650 per night) plus breakfast. Some optional excursions were offered but all were at substantial additional cost. That was disappointing because Viking had a reputation for excellent, included excursions.
The weather in early April can be marginal in northern Europe. Perhaps this cruise would be better if delayed a month. I would stay further south in Europe if cruising in early spring again.
Our Viking dining experience was typically excellent. Entertainment was minimal but good, as we expected on a very small ship. Rik, our Cruise Director was quite entertaining (quick wit and dry sense of humour!) as well as highly competent in organizing everything.
Beyla is a small ship with a more intimate feel to it. Staff were great, attending to almost every detail with enthusiasm. Our only concern was the lack of attention to infection control in the common areas. On every other ship we have cruised on, meticulous attention was paid to disinfection and, especially, the mandatory use of the hand sanitizers. Unfortunately, a significant number of guests had flu and/or colds and shared them with the rest of us. This lead to a few weeks of misery for us during the second part of our visit to Europe (extended stay in London) and Viking Air wasn't of much help when we tried to go home early.
The cabin was typical Viking: small, clean and very efficient use of space. French balcony cabins are quite adequate for an early season cruise. Floor to ceiling windows provide a great view. Our friends across the hall had a balcony but it was too cold to use it.
Beyla is one of Viking's very small ships, carrying a maximum of 98 passengers. It has one fewer deck than the normal longships. As a result, a cabin in the lower deck might be OK too. More of the cabin is above water so the portholes are much larger than what is found in a lower deck cabin on a Viking 200 passenger longship. (note that the generic photo of a Viking ship used by Cruise Critic on this page is not Beyla; it is one of the larger Viking longships)
The port was actually Bad Schandau (not Baden) and was the departure point for the tour of The Bastei, an impressive sandstone pinnacle with great views of the Elbe river. This was the highlight of the cruise.
A beautifully restored town a short walk from the ship. Its Lutheran history will be of interest to some cruisers but it is an impressive small town to stroll about, clean and quiet.