If you are contemplating booking this cruise, I would recommend starting in Beijing and doing all the strenuous part of the tour first.
Firstly the tour does involve lots of walking and steps, so it is not recommended for people with mobility issues.
Our tour guide David was excellent, and kept us fully informed of timings and meeting places, and he kept us amused with tales of his childhood experiences and day to day life in China which was extremely interesting,
It was also great not to have to worry about lifting heavy suitcases everywhere, as Viking took great care of coordinating and checking in our luggage, so all we had to do was identify it after each internal flight, and it was promptly delivered to our respective hotels.
The land tours were well coordinated, taking in Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and Great Wall.
For me, the highlight of the trip was flying to Xian to see the Terracotta Warriors.
All the hotels we stayed in were equivalent to 4/5 star and of a very high standard.
The Kerry Hotel in Beijing had a complimentary mini bar which was stocked daily with beers and soft drinks, and the bathroom was very opulent.
The food in all the hotels was buffet style and very good quality and choice.
The cabins on the Viking Emerald are spacious, and with a balcony, but unfortunately the river was shrouded in mist/fog and smog which is apparently normal, and the guide in Chonquing told us that they
only have about 5 days of sun each , so needless to say, most of the time it was like looking through lace curtains, which was quite disappointing.
The trip wasn't very relaxing, as Viking do not plan too much down time, and personally I think they include too many trips to museums.
I Think it would be preferential to offer alternatives, if you do not want to go to another museum.
The latest time we woke up was 0700, which is very early day in day out, but I guess that we had to avoid the constant queues of traffic, and also to avoid the queues at the other places we were visiting.
I did feel at times that we were being 'herded', but with 34 people in the group, this is the only option.
The food on the boat was excellent with lots of choices, and wine is included at lunch and dinner, but although the staff are extremely pleasant, they need a few lessons in customer service.
I found that we had to keep asking for basic things like condiments, which should automatically be placed on each dining table, and they weren't always proactive in topping up wine glasses.
We constantly had to ask for more wine.
There was an excellent wine waitress called Lois, who was incredible with attending to us, and she even remembered everyone's name, even though we constantly changed tables.
It was always reassuring when Lois was waiting on our table at meal times.
She was also extremely polite and personable.
I also need to mention that when not eating in hotels, Viking had arranged meals in different restaurants which were obviously geared up for tourists, as there were always numerous coaches parked outside, and all tables were filled with groups of 8.
All of these meals were served by using lazy susans, and the food was just 'plonked' on the table.
We were only entitled to 1 drink which seemed a bit mean, so if you dared ask for a glass of water with your beer, it was promptly refused!
In all the restaurants, the staff are constantly trying to remove your plate, even though you could still be eating!
It all seemed very rushed, and that part was not very pleasurable.
Most times we were in and out within 1 hour.
All in all it was a very enjoyable holiday with some amazing sights, but would I do it again-probably no.
It ticked all the boxes of places to see, and I can't fault Viking for that.