3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was the trip of a lifetime for us. Viking staff made all of the difference in the success of this trip. We began in Beijing. We flew on United from Tampa via Washington Dulles. IAD to PEK was a whopping 14+ hours. Customs ... Read More
This was the trip of a lifetime for us. Viking staff made all of the difference in the success of this trip. We began in Beijing. We flew on United from Tampa via Washington Dulles. IAD to PEK was a whopping 14+ hours. Customs clearance in Beijing was fairly painless. We were met by Viking guide Peter, who would be our guide for the next two days. We were taken to the Kerry hotel, where we spend 5 nights. Lovely hotel with small but well equipped room. The hotel has an outstanding health club and indoor pool. Their restaurants are all quite good. Kerry's Kitchen serves buffet for B,L & D. Nice array of Chinese and Western fare. Kerry's Pantry was sort of a take-out restaurant with some seating. Great salads, sandwiches and desserts. Centro is a 24 hour bar and restaurant. The bar was a good hiding place....with an excellent cheeseburger, btw!! We bought the Beijing extension, which gave us a tour of the Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace. Weather was a bit cool - 40's to 50's, but nice and sunny. We had our first lunch at a very large Chinese restaurant. It was pretty good. We had the second day free. We stayed close to the hotel, shopping in the two astonishing adjacent malls. Our actual tour then began. Our guide for the remainder of the journey was Roy. He made the trip for us. Expertly knowledgable and responded to every request and problem. We toured the Great Wall in perfect weather - 50's and piercing bright sun. Roy brought us to a location on the Wall which had almost no other people! Fabulous vantage points and lots of time to shoot photos and just marvel at this wonder of the world. The next day was Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Again perfect weather and great commentary from Roy. Next day we flew to Xi'an. Great flight on China Eastern Airlines. Comfortable seating and on-time flight. Getting through security in all of the Chinese airports is arduous....Full pat downs every time. We stayed at the Wyndham South. This was one of the nicest hotels we've stayed in. It is adjacent to a wonderful ourdoor mall with an engaging walk down to a pogoda. The Terra Cotta Warriors exceeded our expectations. Too much to try to describe here. Next, we flew to Chongqing on Hainan Airlines. It's the largest city in the world. We believed it when we rode through it. It was late in the day, so the building lights were coming on. Breathtaking! It was the first day of a holiday, so traffic was at a standstill. We finally got to the ship's boarding area at around 9pm. We had to descend a large, dangerous set of stairs which had no railing. Points off for Viking on this. We had a suite, # 508. It, along with every other aspect of the ship was just average. The ship is only 8 years old, but is quite worn. The service on the ship was excellent. The food was hit or miss. Everything needed salt, and I normally never salt my food. We had bought the Silver Spirits drink package and found that to be a waste, as we drank mostly the free-flow wine in the restaurant. The noise level in the restaurant was very high, probably due in part to the low ceiings on the ship. Very small fitness room with 2 treadmills, 2 bikes and 2 ellipticals....nothing else. The 6 day cruise was the most scenic cruise we've ever taken. Again, too much to try to describe here. Next, we flew on China Eastern to Shanghai. Exciting drive through this metropolis to the Westin Bund Center. Great hotel with good restaurants. Strange room setup, trying to be funky modern, but was rather dysfunctional. We toured the Yu Gardens and the Shanghai Museum. I'm not a museum person, but this one really appealed to me. It was very spacious and easy to get around.....and it was overwhelming! Finally we flew home on United, connecting in Chicago.....with less than two hours to clear customs and get to our connecting flight. Folks, don't let anyone do this to you. You need a minimum of 4 hours to do this. We barely made it, using the Mobile Passport app. In all, we highly recommend this trip, even though the actual ship is less than Viking's standards. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
My wife and I chose Viking - and, specifically, their "Imperial Jewels of China" itinerary, for our first trip to China. Overall, we are glad we did so. Though it was not without concerns and drawbacks. To be clear, the ... Read More
My wife and I chose Viking - and, specifically, their "Imperial Jewels of China" itinerary, for our first trip to China. Overall, we are glad we did so. Though it was not without concerns and drawbacks. To be clear, the experience of visiting China for more than two weeks was fabulous. We have been fortunate to travel well. This was probably our most interesting, brain-stimulating adventure. The scope of change and the pace and magnitude of development are astounding. As are the many inherent contradictions. While both my wife and I wrote extensively about our travels and observations, let me limit this to our Viking experience. Much of this review will focus on the shortcomings and concerns. But let me be clear that our experience was very positive in many, many respects. We were perhaps more adventurous than many in our group; but not adventurous enough to tackle two weeks in so foreign a place as China entirely on our own. Viking provided the opportunity and the structure for us to have this experience. A few notes on the positive side of the ledger. - Our guide, Kobe, was first-rate in so many ways. Others in our group who have been on more guided trips remarked that he was the best guide they had had - anywhere. He was knowledgeable, personable, able to relate to many unique and different people, focused on the details when he had to be, and someone whom it was always a pleasure to be around. - Viking gets very high marks for meticulous and detailed organization. There were roughly 200 people (almost all Americans, Canadians or Brits) on this journey, divided into eight groups of about 25 people each. This is no small undertaking and everything seemed to work seamlessly from our perspective. - The hotels at which we stayed in Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai were all first-rate in all respects. - Through no fault of Viking, we had missed our day in Wuhan (called "the Chicago of the Orient") due to heavy fog on the Yangtze which forced all river traffic to hold in place for nearly 18 hours. Viking unexpectedly decided to make it up to everyone a day later by chartering a boat for a nighttime cruise of the Huangpu River through Shanghai. Seeing the Bund at night from the water was a real treat. Booking this for 200 people was a class move on Viking's part. I could go on with positives and compliments. But let me turn to the downsides which I hope will be more instructive for Viking. - Only six days of this 15-day trip involved the Yangtze cruise. Yet nearly all of the communications from Viking following our booking focused exclusively on the cruise. There was virtually no mention of the equally or more interesting land portion of the itinerary before and after. So much so that my wife and I checked into our Beijing hotel without really knowing where to meet or whom to contact. Viking would be advised to treat this as a unified, 15-day expedition instead of putting virtually all of the emphasis on the river piece. - We decided to fly into Beijing one day early to have 24 hours to explore on our own (as well as to sleep off a bit of jet lag). For this privilege, Viking charged us a $200 "deviation fee" ($100 per person). Yet Viking provided absolutely no services related to this "deviation". In fact, we had to book our own transport from the airport to the hotel at a price of roughly another $100. When I inquired of Viking's main office as to the rationale for the deviation charge, they really had no answer. - Of most annoyance to us and many others in our group, on four separate occasions Viking paired a buffet lunch (usually very average and nondescript) with some kind of factory showroom tour and controlled shopping opportunity. These were respectively for jade, tea, silk and terra cotta figurines. Clearly, this is a case of Viking getting reduced-cost or free lunches in return for bringing a captive audience to a showroom. From talking with others, Viking is apparently renown for this practice in many locales. That doesn't make it right or advisable or anything that I and others liked. - It would have been nice to have at least one or two unscheduled evenings and the chance to find dinner on our own. Especially in Beijing which is famous for its cuisine. On the whole, the food on this trip was decent and certainly plentiful but undistinguished. - The ship (the Emerald) was quite adequate, but past its prime and not up to Viking standards elsewhere. The dining room is ill-placed on the second level instead of up top with a view. The ceiling in the dining room is quite low which makes it very noisy and hot (with somewhat variable air conditioning). Our cabin was fine, but nothing more than that. Corridors are narrow and floors are somewhat uneven. There is really only one outside deck. A number of nooks and crannies which could make for nice sitting areas are instead given over to onboard merchants selling the usual Chinese fare at vastly inflated prices. I understand that much of this is a function of Viking being required to use Chinese ships. And that a new ship is under construction. Nonetheless... - I am familiar with the usual tipping procedure on cruises whether with Viking or other lines. But the process here was needlessly confusing. We try to be generous tippers, but the number that they added to our onboard bill was exorbitant. Also, there was an ambiguity as to whether this sum also included our guide for the full 15 days. We opted to reduce what we did for the ship's crew and to deal separately and privately with our excellent guide. - Lastly, this is a tricky one, but it needs to be said that our group (and seemingly each group) included people of widely varying physical abilities. Three of the 25 people in our group used wheelchairs or walkers. In no way am I suggesting that folks with such disabilities shouldn't be included in such trips. In fact, I admire their courage and tenacity in continuing such adventurous travel. (And I come with three joint replacements of my own.) But Viking should be more transparent with prospective guests as to the limitations this will cause for others. Why not attempt some selective grouping so that those who are more fit and adventurous can undertake and explore a bit more? That's more than enough. Again, let me make clear that the positive far outweighed the negative with respect to Viking and this trip. Despite the number of words I gave to each in this review. But there are plenty of each. Final word of advice: If you haven't been to China, go. Whether with Viking or some other group or on your own. It is a fascinating place and much of the future is taking shape there. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We have always wanted to visit China to see the difference in cities, culture and landscapes! This Cruise/Land Tour trip was the perfect way to do that. In the two weeks that we were there we saw 6 megacities, flew three domestic flights ... Read More
We have always wanted to visit China to see the difference in cities, culture and landscapes! This Cruise/Land Tour trip was the perfect way to do that. In the two weeks that we were there we saw 6 megacities, flew three domestic flights within China along with experiencing their airlines and airports, in addition to the 7 night, 6 day cruise on the Yangtze river! -Embarkation went smoothly except for a minor glitch of delayed luggage due to customs holding up one bus temporarily. This is not the fault of the cruise staff and we still left on time. Disembarking was a breeze as was transferring to and from the many airports and hotels. Never had to deal directly with our luggage until the time came to check baggage for our return flight home from Beijing! -The hotel accommodations were unbelievably top notch! All were 5*+ and we felt that the Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai and the Wyndham in Xian were the nicest rooms we've ever stayed in! -The food on board the ship and in all the restaurants was phenomenal. So many opportunities to try new and unusual dishes that we'd never heard of or had before. The only "problem" was there was always too much! -Service aboard the ship was excellent from the cabin attendant to our wonderful waitress Alice and waiter in the dining room. Many are multitalented and also provide the passengers with evening entertainment shows! Any requests of staff were handled efficiently and with a smile. -A variety of onboard activities were offered, from experiencing a tea ceremony explanation, having a silk garment made to talks by the tour director and explanations by local experts on the history, culture and sites as we made our way on Yangtze for six days. -The shore excursions and land tours were equally eye opening, everything I expected and so much more! Visiting a 2nd grade classroom in an elementary school was one of many opportunities to interact one on one with the people. The tours did require some physical activity and walking. Climbing 12 floors to the top of a temple, watching the giant pandas in the Chongquin Zoo, exploring the Three Gorges dam and Terra Cotta warriors in Xian. The Three Gorges on the Yangtze were amazing with a chance to see up close one the most beautiful gorges from a Sampan! Walking on the Great Wall may have been the highlight however. There were just so many sites and experiences in this trip! We have been to many places in the world but we both agree that this is probably the most memorable trip we've taken! -The advantages of having a tour director with our group the whole two weeks was unbelievable. Our tour director Roy for our group of 36 people was Amazing. He did everything and I mean everything! He handled every little detail so that we could just enjoy ourselves. He made the difference between a good trip and an unbelievably excellent trip and he should be commended many times over. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
NO COMMENTS ON VESSEL (OR CABINS) BECAUSE THIS WAS HER LAST VIKING CRUISE. A BRAND NEW SHIP IN 2019!!! Our 2-week Imperial Jewels odyssey, Shanghai to Bejing, celebrated our 50th anniversary. It was extremely well-organized by very ... Read More
NO COMMENTS ON VESSEL (OR CABINS) BECAUSE THIS WAS HER LAST VIKING CRUISE. A BRAND NEW SHIP IN 2019!!! Our 2-week Imperial Jewels odyssey, Shanghai to Bejing, celebrated our 50th anniversary. It was extremely well-organized by very competent staff. Airfare booked thru Viking provided direct flights on American Airlines & included all transfer of ourselves & bags. Welcoming Viking escorts met us, took us to our hotels on the first of many tour bus rides & handled check-in. We met our excellent, personable & continually informative Viking escort, Roy Liu, & our "family" of 35 fellow travelers. All 3 cities featured elegant 4-5 star hotels like Ritz-Carlton. We sailed from Wuhan after 2 nights. The tour includes 3 internal flights on Chinese airlines via vast modern airports. Plentiful daily sightseeing utilizes travel days to see things en route. It is a VERY strenuous tour including countless stairs & uneven pavement. (Few wheelchair service opportunities.) Our only excursion-free "day of rest" was the first on the river. Fascinating, constant learning opportunities introduced the culture, history, landmarks, etc.plus activities like daily Tai Chi exercise class. The hard-working, totally service-oriented Chinese crew provided night time entertainment with colorful costumes & folk dancing. No formal nights or casino. Nice bars with live music duo. No smoking. The ship's elegant dining room had 8-person tables; no assigned seats. Breakfast & lunch had both buffet & menu service. Western-style foods are plentiful on board & at hotels, but don't go if you dislike Chinese cuisine. Restaurant meals on excursions usually many dishes family-style on a "lazy Susan." LOVED the food's variety, flavors, & freshness but missed ice cubes! Viking constantly supplied necessary bottled water. (Even used for brushing teeth!) Free-flow "house" wine, beer, soft drinks at meals. ON SHIP: Wi-fi free but seldom available due to geography. OFF SHIP: Wi-fi free at hotels but no Google, Facebook, etc. Need alternative apps. ALWAYS carry toilet paper; ladies, brief wait for western-style public toilets. Highlights too numerous to list included the expected like Terra Cotta warriors & Great Wall & unexpected like a Chinese elementary school & the exotic Goddess stream gorge. This trip does NOT go to the panda breeding center. We adored these charmers at their Chonqing Zoo enclosures. Glad we went south-to-north as Beijing was the peak experience! November chilly but bearable up north, still warm & humid in the south. (October has millions of Chinese traveling for biggest national holidays.) Viking doesn't waste time at overpriced "factory" businesses but took us to a few quality establishments selling silk embroidery, bronzes, jade, etc. The few small shops on board had higher prices than on land & didn't bargain. Most popular was a tailor creating custom-made silk garments that were bargains compared to US prices. Order early! Added-cost excursions: Only 3, We did the Tang Dynasty Dinner/Show at Xian & the Kung Fu Theatre in Beijing. Both FABULOUS theatrical productions with music,dance, thrills, astonishing special effects worthy of Las Vegas. Incredible value! SO GLAD we experienced this journey to an endlessly surprising, dynamic destination! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
First of all I apologize for the lateness of this review as I've been busy with life since getting back. We went on the Viking Emerald Yangtze River cruise because a.) we wanted to see the real China, and b.) our daughter was ... Read More
First of all I apologize for the lateness of this review as I've been busy with life since getting back. We went on the Viking Emerald Yangtze River cruise because a.) we wanted to see the real China, and b.) our daughter was studying abroad in Shanghai and we decided to tack on a few days at the end of the cruise to visit her. It was our first Viking cruise, and if it was indicative of how Viking operates I am looking forward to being a repeat customer. Our journey started in Beijing. It took use four hours to get through the multiple lines, two artificial intelligence photos, one misplaced bag and countless immigration officials at the Beijing airport. We were sure that the Viking official who was to pick us up would have left by the time we made it through the gantlet. I was preparing to get a cab to our hotel. But no, Leo, who would serve as our guide throughout the trip, was waiting at the end of the maze for us. That got everything off to the right foot. It really is more of a tour than a cruise. You are split up into groups of about three dozen, and you stay in that group the duration of the trip with the same tour guide. You also start to make friends with a variety of people you did not know before. Leo was fantastic. The poor guy was herding cats the whole trip, and it started five minutes into our first tour at Tiananmen Square, where one person made a wrong turn almost immediately as we got off the bus. But Leo was patient, and eventually he was reunited with the group. China is a strenuous tour. But not impossible. There's a lot of walking, Viking did arrange a wheelchair for one person in our group, and even though China is not an accessible-friendly country, he did manage quite well with the aid of a Viking associate. Basically our tour started with land tours in Beijing, Xi'an, and Chongqing. That took about five days. In Chongqing we boarded the Emerald and traveled down the Yangtze for about six days. Then from Wuhan we flew to Shanghai to complete the tour. Viking offers the same tour in the opposite direction. In addition to the tourist sites, we got to see how regular people live, meeting an artist in her home in one of the poorest sections of Beijing, and visiting a primary school that is sponsored by Viking. The food was spectacular. We had Peking Duck in Beijing, and a variety of food throughout the trip both o the ship and in restaurants. I don't drink so I can't attest to the wine and beer, but I heard no complaints. The ship was great. The public rooms and our guest room were well-maintained and clean. The staff was friendly and always available to help. If China is something on the bucket list, I would highly recommend Viking. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
The staff was very service oriented and professional. Opportunity to learn a lot of cultural information about China history, way of life. Fun and interesting people, plus fun shows by the staff. Like the beer and wine at meals at no ... Read More
The staff was very service oriented and professional. Opportunity to learn a lot of cultural information about China history, way of life. Fun and interesting people, plus fun shows by the staff. Like the beer and wine at meals at no additional cost. Smooth ride up a river than in the ocean. Tour guides where informative and English speaking was very good. Will go on another river cruise sometime in the future. Hotel accommodations prior and after cruise were excellent. Air fairs could have been more direct for us living In Seattle than fly to Dallas and then to China and returning to Dallas before proceeding to Seattle. When others in our groups flight did go to Seattle. Weather was great for this trip and our concerns for smog did not develop in the big cities. We had clear beautiful days. Tour buses where great and lots of water was handed out to those who needed it. Great variety of excursion tours to learn culture and opportunities to shop and taste different foods. We would recommend this tour to anybody interested in China. Like that no motorized chairs where able to use this cruise like some ocean cruises. You had to be able to walk so tours were not slowed up. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Never been there, wonderful experience. It was a great experience,guide was wonderful. Would do trip again, if the world wasn’t so big. Looking forward to our next adventure. Met wonderfully people. Really enjoyed traveling with them. ... Read More
Never been there, wonderful experience. It was a great experience,guide was wonderful. Would do trip again, if the world wasn’t so big. Looking forward to our next adventure. Met wonderfully people. Really enjoyed traveling with them. Hotels were excellent. Next time we would be a little bit more aggressive. Money exchange was a bit confusing, use credit cards. Tours were great enjoyed everyday, looking forward to our next trip. Staff was great everything was wonderful. Foods were a experience, difficult to make choices although they tried to give us choices. Beer and wine on board was great, no complaints. We really recommend this trip it was more than we expected. China is a great country, but we really needed more time there. Only complaint was boarding our ship, which was horrible. They really needed a better boarding ramp. Everyone was upset the way we boarded. The ship was great once we were aboard. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Great itinerary to see China (Beijing/Great Wall; Xian/Terra Cotta Warriors; Yangtze River/3 Gorges Dam & sights) and land portion of tour with excellent guides and 5 star hotels was really outstanding. However, the Viking Ship Emerald ... Read More
Great itinerary to see China (Beijing/Great Wall; Xian/Terra Cotta Warriors; Yangtze River/3 Gorges Dam & sights) and land portion of tour with excellent guides and 5 star hotels was really outstanding. However, the Viking Ship Emerald (actually a Chinese ship with all Viking passengers) was damp and musty with below average service. Humidifiers in hallways should have given us our first clue as to serious problems with the ship. We asked for room humidifier and air filter fans and the crew provided these immediately. Dining room service was unusual for a cruise -- couples had to share menus at dinner and at lunch only one menu per table was provide for 8 people (does Viking have a strange cost cutting effort going on?) -- and wait service was impatient and wanted you to order quickly. My onboard credit was denied and I was curtly asked to prove that I had it. Luckily I had a cruise reservation form that had a Viking logo on it so they could finally give us our $250 credit. We has a suite but no one told us that laundry was free -- the Viking documentation was generic and said we had to pay. All other cruises we have taken have a paper in the room which tells of perks that come with the room. Embarkation to ship at Chongqing was a true disaster, extremely unsafe and must be fixed by Viking. From busses we had to descend many crumbling concrete stairs with no railings dragging our carry on luggage by ourselves with absolutely no help from Viking staff of 10-15 standing by watching us struggle to help each other down the wet and muddy stairs. When we complained the Viking staff said China did not allow the Viking ship staff to help us; however, someone delivered our large luggage from the airport to the ship down those same stairs. The ship is supposed to be refurbished in Dec 2018 so that may help appearance, but probably not service. I give this cruise 3 stars because the guides were terrific (ours was Joshua); tours very good (lots of steps -- not easy, but outstanding); the hotels were 5 star plus; and the itinerary outstanding. I also hope that Viking can fix the embarkation disaster (should be easy fix) and the ship is being refurbished. We hope Viking could train the crew to European standards and print a few more menus. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
My 90 year old mother chose this trip after taking Prague to Paris with the grandaughters. Its was wonderful. After reading the reviews, I was concerned about the physical aspects of the trip & reviewers discussing the difficulty of ... Read More
My 90 year old mother chose this trip after taking Prague to Paris with the grandaughters. Its was wonderful. After reading the reviews, I was concerned about the physical aspects of the trip & reviewers discussing the difficulty of the terrain & lack of access to those with disabilities. Keep in mind my mother walks at least a mile a day, rides an exercise bike regularly. She’s pretty salty for 90. To be safe, I contacted the travel agent 2x- who reassured me that this trip would not be a problem. Wrong, Wrong. So wrong. While this trip provided an excellent array of excursions to showcase China’s history, art, museum exhibits - that doesn’t help you if you can’t get there to see them. Our group’s guide James, who was a wealth of information- did his best to make arrangements for mom at the disembarkment spots but it was still too much. The stairs at every port were unbelievable- usually at least 90- so double that for the return trip. Add to that the heat & humidity in late June - brutal. All the Viking staff on shore & the ship were fabulous- courteous, knowledgeable, friendly- but apparently our travel agent dropped the ball. My mom was unable to enjoy several excursions( the ones she really wanted to see- the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, the Temple) due to exhaustion and knee & hip pain. There were other much younger cruisers who were grumbling about “boot camp” throughout the tour. Just make sure you are in decent shape and stay hydrated. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because we had never been to China and having cruised with Viking before it was a no brainer. Doubtful that we would ever consider any other Cruise Line. The food and service on board the Viking Emerald was ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had never been to China and having cruised with Viking before it was a no brainer. Doubtful that we would ever consider any other Cruise Line. The food and service on board the Viking Emerald was excellent, as were the on shore excursions. Our favorite shore excursion was the school visit, a surprise because neither of us are what you would call children people. Our tour began in Shanghai and ended in Hong Kong. The weather cooperated wonderfully, light sprinkles in Shanghai And a 15 minute down pour on Victoria peak in Hong Kong which the local guide told us would happen. Of the cities we visited Guilin was our favorite, we thought it was quite beautiful.. The cruise on the River Li was spectacular. The only complaint would be we were tired of Chinese buffets, but we were in China. Our tour guide Tom was with us from Shanghai and said good bye in Hong Kong. He was excellent. Read Less
Viking Emerald Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family N/A 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 5.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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