We had an amazing, awesome, wonderful cruise on the China Cultural Delights tour that began Aug. 1, 2013. (Just the cruise part is actually 10 days.) I don't even know where to start. From the moment we landed in Beijing to the moment we left Shanghai, Viking River Cruises and, especially, our tour escort, Peter, took such good care of us. The excursions were somewhat more active than I had anticipated and the heat was extreme, but I would go again in an instant. So many things about the trip were just extraordinary. I can't wait to take another Viking adventure. When I try to say which place or excursion was the best I find that I just cannot. EVERYTHING....from the Great Wall to the Terra Cotta Warriors to the school visit to the porcelain factory to the three gorges boat ride to the temples at Mt. Jiu....every single day was the best one yet! I really do believe that I have a new understanding of China today and of her history. The Chinese people are so very friendly, especially the children. I will be talking about this trip for years to come.
When Viking tells you it is ok to be casual, believe it. We only dressed up on a couple of occasions and even then, not super dressed up. If you are going in late summer, as we did, take a hat and an umbrella for sun. Some of the excursions are quite active...as in lots of walking and some climbing. Having said all of that, I will add that it is worth every minute of sun and walking.
Viking takes very good care of her passengers. We had ample bottled water, for example, whether in our cabin or on an excursion. When we were out on a tour our guides would give us tips as to where the most comfortable restrooms would be and when we would likely be near one. Depending on how mobile or adventurous you are, this can be very useful information. Our wait staff and onboard crew were perfect. The food was delicious and the cabin very comfortable. We really enjoyed the lectures and performances aboard ship as well. Do read up on China to add to your experience before you go. I happen to be a big fan of Amy Tan and Lisa See so I heartily recommend some of their novels.
This was a fantastic trip and I would do it again in an instant! Gosh...wish I were boarding again right now! :-)