This was our first trip to Asia. After a great deal of research of tour operators, we settled on Viking because of their willingness to deal with dietary needs and conversations with previous travellers on similiar trips.
A number of acquaintances had travelled on less expensive excursions that were all fine, but Viking came out ahead on first class hotels, a new ship, meals and organization of tours.
From the moment we arrived in Beijing and were met by a Viking representative to the time we were escorted to the check in counter to depart Shanghai, every detail was looked after.
Our guide Jimmy was extremely knowledgeable, caring and organized. We were kept on a tight schedule but we saw everything and received a in depth education of the culture, history and understanding of today's dynamics.
We stayed at the first class Westin's in Beijing and Shanghai, and the beautiful Crowne Plaza in Xian. The Viking Emerald is a very comfortable ship with good cabins and excellent public spaces.
Meals at hotels, restaurants, performances an on the ship were all very good with much choice and accommodated western palates.
All the tours and stops had something to offer. The big disappointment though was the Three Gorges Dam Project. Because of the permanent mist you can't see the dam, and do not get to see the inner workings of this massive project.
You are limited to the displays, grounds and gift store.
For a first glimpse of China, don't hesitate to choose Viking.