Sail Date: October 2017
Interesting but exhausting trip. 17 days is a long time which included 3 internal flights which were tiresome. A Highlight of the trip was our tour guide Ray. His amazing communication skills and A+ personality made the trip. Tibet was ... Read More
Interesting but exhausting trip. 17 days is a long time which included 3 internal flights which were tiresome. A Highlight of the trip was our tour guide Ray. His amazing communication skills and A+ personality made the trip. Tibet was another highlight. We arrived during a holy time so got to see the Buddhist pilgrims from the countryside. 6 of the 30 people on our tour to Tibet got altitude sickness and had to go to the in hotel clinic to get oxygen and medicine. They looked miserable and many missed a day in Tibet, so if your going you might want to consider getting the altitude pre medication available in the states before leaving home. The cruise portion down the Yangtze was pretty but there was lots of smog/pollution the first few days. Almost everywhere we went in China was very industrialized. It was interesting to see the huge buildings and people but the lack of any wildlife anywhere was a major bummer. Culturally a very rich trip, glad to have seen the Terra Cotta warriors and the Great Wall in person. The Hotels we stayed at for the land portion were luxurious, the Viking Emerald was nice, but did have an awful lot of gift shops on every floor, which made the atmosphere less than perfect. The food was good and as a vegetarian I always had choices. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose Viking for our China visit as we knew they'd take good care of us in a country where we don't speak the language and can't read the signs - and they did. From the time we stepped off the plane to the time we checked back in for ... Read More
We chose Viking for our China visit as we knew they'd take good care of us in a country where we don't speak the language and can't read the signs - and they did. From the time we stepped off the plane to the time we checked back in for the trip home, we were very well cared-for. Viking assigns you to a group of about 30 who stays together with one guide the entire trip, so you get to know this group very well and still have the fun of meeting others. All of the guides are terrific, not only telling you about everything you see but also candidly sharing a lot about their personal lives and what everyday life is like in China - fascinating! FAQs: - Toilet paper: bring some small travel rolls as you will run into the 'squatty potties' (a flushing ceramic hole in the floor) in airports and outside the big cities and frequently there is none available. There are usually 1 or 2 western toilets available out of 5 or 6 stalls, but with long lines. - Food: you will always have western-style options for breakfast, but lunch and dinner while you are travelling are usually Chinese. Food on the ship is very good; always a buffet with both western and local options, with additional western items you can order from the menu, plus some food stations with food cooked to order. Food in hotels (breakfasts and dinners) were usually very large buffets with many western options. Most people had no problem with the ubiquitous lazy-Susan (family-style) Chinese lunches we got while travelling, but a few had backup granola bars or crackers with them. If you're a picky eater, be prepared. - Go south to north or vice versa? we went north to south (Beijing to Shanghai) because we knew we'd appreciate the restful afternoons and the western food options onboard ship after a week of all-Chinese food while travelling, and were glad we did. The tradeoff: north to south options get a rickshaw ride into the hutangs in Beijing, visiting one local family; if you go south to north, you usually see the pandas in Chongching instead. No trip offers both. We figured we could catch pandas on our next visit to DC! - Excursions: all were terrific, and all were included in the price except 3 (which makes this trip a great value). The optional ones: recommend the Kung Fu performance (great entertainment even if you are like me and don't care for martial arts), Tang Dynasty (excellent). We did not do the optional Peking Duck dinner as we knew we would see plenty of Peking duck throughout the trip and we did. Those who went said it was ok. - What to pack: (1) layers. We went in October, and hit temps from the high 40s to the high 70s. A lighter rainproof jacket you can put a layer underneath works best; you'll find yourself layering up or down throughout the day. Coldest part of trip: windy Great Wall in the 50s; warmest part: Wuhan to Beijing (low 70s). (2) Always pack a medical kit: Aleve/aspirtin, Imodium, an antibiotic like Cipro from your doctor; you'll need at least one of them. Pack and USE antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer; lots on our trip were coming down with something by the end. - Tips onboard ship: (1) ask for a dehumidifier. You're on a river in a humid area, it will make a great deal of difference in how comfortable your cabin is. We had to empty ours daily. (2) We looked at a wine list and promptly bought the beverage package. House wine and beer are included at meals, but if you like your wine you'll probably want the beverage package not only to upgrade the quality, but also give you the option to get a cocktail outside of meals. When we realized that we'd have to pay separately for a glass of wine at 5 pm and another during the evening performances, the beverage package became a great option. They had pretty good Australian and New Zealand wines and the beverage package isn't limited by bottles - it's basically all you want to drink. - Tips on the road: do NOT drink the water. Close your mouth when showering; brush your teeth with bottled water. Not even the locals drink tap water. I brought makeup remover towelettes for my face, put a bottle of water by the tap so I wouldn't forget to use it, and had no problems. Others on our trip had problems and it is miserable to have to fly to another city when you have diarrhea. - Tips for travelling: airport security is very tight: put all your batteries and battery-powered items in your carry-on luggage and your liquids in your packed luggage and you'll have no problems. At least once on the trip you'll need to put your luggage out the night before (Viking gets your luggage to the various airports for you), so keep your morning makeup in containers of less than 150 ml. so they can go with you the next morning in your carry-on. Do yourself a favor and don't take any battery power packs (the backup power packs you use to recharge items): they caused problems at every airport security. - Tips for buying: you'll see lots of the same souvenirs (silk jewelry cases, silk embroidery, kids silk pajamas, tee shirts) throughout your trip: they are the cheapest in the bazaars along the Yangtze River. Offer vendors 20% of their initial ask and you'll usually settle for about 30%-40% of it. Carry some US $1 bills as you'll run into lots of "one dollah" offers which are usually slightly better than what you'll pay in yuans. Don't buy anything you will need to ship home yourself as it's expensive; several on our trip bought an extra suitcase and paid the airline fee for it rather than pay $500 to ship home a small box. If you are looking at a large item, ask if the vendor will ship it for you and include it in the price. FABulous trip! We really enjoyed the cultural experience, the great care Viking took of us, and I'd recommend it. It's the first trip I've taken where just about everything was included in the price, and I think it was very good value for the money. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Viking's Undiscovered China only goes from Shanghai to Beijing and we also did the Hong Kong extension. The entire trip was wonderful and our escort, Francis, couldn't do enough for his 38 passengers. As other reviews have said, the escort ... Read More
Viking's Undiscovered China only goes from Shanghai to Beijing and we also did the Hong Kong extension. The entire trip was wonderful and our escort, Francis, couldn't do enough for his 38 passengers. As other reviews have said, the escort is with you the entire trip (a different part-time escort was in Hong Kong). The escort is your main guide (some local guides are also used) and a great help with any trouble shooting that you need. We are generally independent travelers and even when we do a cruise we will go off on our own, but not in China. The ship did have some dehumidifiers running in the halls but we didn't have any problems with the humidity. The weather was generally cloudy and we did have some periods of drizzle or rain; but it didn't interfere with planned activities. All of the hotels were 5 star and the food was very good. On the ship the breakfast and lunch buffets had plenty of options and for dinner you could order from a menu. Wine and beer were included with lunch and dinner. On the land portion of the trip, lunches were always Chinese food served on a Lazy Susan and some of the dinners were buffets. The buffets were better because they generally had some Western food and more variety. We paid the extra money to pick our own flights. As soon as Viking booked these flights we were able to log onto the airline web site and pick our own seats. The airline tickets also included transfers to and from the airports which was a great benefit because the airports were at least 45 minutes from the hotels. In Chengdu we were taken to the Panda Breeding Center. It's a huge zoo for just Giant and Red Pandas. The group all agreed that is was a hi-light of the trip. There are about 200 Giant Pandas (from 3 months to 20+ years old) and 60+ Red Pandas. The pandas are roaming in large areas and many of them were playing and interacting with each other. Also in this city we went to a Sichuan Opera. Don't let the word opera scare you away. This show can be described as more of a variety show consisting of various short performances. This hi-light of the show is the costume and face changing act. Our stay in Beijing included that rickshaw ride through the Hutong Area and a visit to a home where we had a very nice conversation with the owner and her niece. And yes, you need to bring toilet paper or tissues with you because even in a Western toilet outside the hotel you will not find toilet paper. You were also encouraged not to drink any of the water. The hotels and ship provide you with plenty of bottled water. I believe the water was safe to drink but they were afraid you would come down with Traveler's Diarrhea. Finally--this trip was a once in a life time experience and even with the long international flights and the number of inter-China flights that were involved it was well worth it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
We enjoyed out first Viking River cruise ,The Grand European Tour . We wanted to go to China and Viking had the places and cities we wanted to see. Beijing- The Great Wall,Tiananmen Square & Forbidden City along with the Kung Fu ... Read More
We enjoyed out first Viking River cruise ,The Grand European Tour . We wanted to go to China and Viking had the places and cities we wanted to see. Beijing- The Great Wall,Tiananmen Square & Forbidden City along with the Kung Fu performance.We did the optional Peking duck dinner and the skin of the duck was soggy not crisp.We enjoyed the rickshaw ride and visit to the Hutongs tour. We loved the Terra Cotta army and the Tang Dynasty dinner show.Hiked up the Shibaozhai Temple along side the Yangtze River.Sailed thru the three gorges and the huge three gorge Dam. Our tour director(Michael) was excellent and answered any and all questions.Alll three of the Hotels we stayed at were excellent.The food at the hotels and on the boat was very good and had a variety.The cabin on the boat was damp and musty other than that the ship was okay.All the service personnel seemed to enjoyed there job.We have three more trips planned on Viking. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Our trip included a land portion and time on the river. The land portion was excellent!! Walking the Great Wall, seeing Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City is seared in our travel memory bank! Sailing on the Viking Emerald on the ... Read More
Our trip included a land portion and time on the river. The land portion was excellent!! Walking the Great Wall, seeing Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City is seared in our travel memory bank! Sailing on the Viking Emerald on the Yangzee River was unbelievably wonderful! Our cabin was great - I loved having a balcony to sit outside and watch the world go by!! The dining room service was exceptional! The food was fantastic! Within one day they knew our names and drink preferences!! Smiles never end!! The ship staff were very friendly, spoke impeccable English, willing and able to answer every question! Having shore excursions included with a big plus!! John, our tour guide, along with the other local guides were very informative! The excursions gave us an excellent taste of China, the people and the history! We will certainly travel with Viking again (and again, and again)!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
I had taken the Viking River cruise through Russia and thoroughly enjoyed it and thought that it would be a great way to see the highlights of China. The village of Lijiang was simply charming. I can understand why they call this place ... Read More
I had taken the Viking River cruise through Russia and thoroughly enjoyed it and thought that it would be a great way to see the highlights of China. The village of Lijiang was simply charming. I can understand why they call this place the reason for the trip being called Undiscovered China. The panda reserve was also another favorite stop. Getting to see little baby pandas out for the first time since they were born was fascinating. I also enjoyed climbing The Great Wall in Beijing. The ship and all of the crew were great and made sure that we were well taken care of. I do wish our time on board ship had been a little longer, but we we did have was excellent. Our tour guide Kobi was the best. Not only did he tell us about the history of different places, but he also talked about his own personal experiences, not only with the locations, but about himself. The only thing that I was disappointed in on this trip was one of the extra excursions that was not included in the regular excursions. It was the Peking Duck Dinner. When you advertise for this, you expect that you will get a Peking Duck Dinner. There was some Peking Duck, but there was not a lot of it. We were told that we could get more, but somewhere during the course of the dinner, the wait staff disappeared and we could not get anyone to bring us some more of it. They had a lot of other dishes besides the duck, but we had paid for a Peking Duck Dinner, not a dinner that included the Peking Duck. I would recommend that you use a different restaurant if you are going to continue to offer this as an additional excursion. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
Outstanding service throughout the entire land and cruise. We had 7 days on land and then the 6 day cruise. The land accommodations were excellent at all premium hotels. The river cruise was fabulous. The ships are different and locally ... Read More
Outstanding service throughout the entire land and cruise. We had 7 days on land and then the 6 day cruise. The land accommodations were excellent at all premium hotels. The river cruise was fabulous. The ships are different and locally owned in China, but they were very nicely equipped. The food was excellent throughout - some authentic local and enough Western to satisfy most people. I felt that we packed more into this trip in a small timeframe over a huge Country than I imagined possible. This is not a relaxing cruise but more of a intensive exploration of the Country. Lot's a walking and long days make for a very rewarding experience. Viking staff and local staff were amazing. We had no language issues and really appreciated the local expertise. Entertainment is local or ship board crew and it was fun. Don't expect a Broadway show. I would highly recommend this tour and Viking to anybody interested in a full scale China visit. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Viking Air Service Pros Cost of airfare was part of the total tour package and was lower than the cost of tickets we could have purchased. Cons. The air service was the biggest disappointment of any part of our tour. We ... Read More
Viking Air Service Pros Cost of airfare was part of the total tour package and was lower than the cost of tickets we could have purchased. Cons. The air service was the biggest disappointment of any part of our tour. We paid an extra $50 to select our airline. We checked the airlines and found that United flew to China and asked to be booked exclusively on United because we could select our seats, check flight status online, and print boarding passes. To book United we were told that we must pay an additional $546 per ticket (2 tickets $1,092). We were then booked on China Air, no seat selection, no online access to flight information, all tickets must be printed at check-in. Taking Air China required leaving Houston at 1:00AM and arriving in Beijing at 3:40AM then taking two shuttle trains through 2 terminals and 3 security checks all with no one available who spoke English. We followed some other passengers through this maze and luckily found our gate. Our flight from Beijing to Shanghai was delayed. There was a sign in Chinese only. After 4 hours a sign was added “military Priority”. Since there was no one at the gate in Beijing who would give us any status for the flight, even when we finally found and asked an English speaker, we called all of the emergency phone numbers in the Viking Booklet. All of the numbers were non-working except one. We then reached their main office and was told we should ask someone at the airport. Our flight from Beijing to Shanghai was delayed 5 hours. The flight boarded only after a crowd gathered at the desk and complained. Once boarded we sat on the tarmac for an additional 2 hours. On arrival at Shanghai we received a text from our tour guide “Angie” and were greeted after customs with a Viking agent who took us to the hotel. One suitcase had been opened by Chinese customs, since it contained a lipstick size battery charger which was removed and discarded. The suitcase was not properly closed, which bent the suitcase frame. Fortunately the Chinese domestic flights were trouble free. The return flight to the USA required that we wait in line at 3 different check-in locations since we did not have boarding passes since Air China would not allow online check-in (as United would have). After all of this aggravation we met another passenger on our tour who also left from Houston on the same day we left who took United on all flights making connections a LAX with no problems. Summary: 1) Viking’s pick you own airline is not true. 2) Make connection in USA if possible. 3) Follow the Chinese check baggage restrictions which differ from USA. Viking River Boat Pros We have cruised on Carnival, NCL, and Holland America with a passenger size from 2,500 to 4.500. We found that the small number of passengers on the river boat gave us a chance to meet other passengers on a more personal level. The small number of passengers also meant much better service from the crew. Being on a small ship the shows presented by the crew in the lunge were personal and fun. Cons The entertainment was not on the “Broadway” level seen on some large ships which is to be expected. Tours Pros Tours are included in the price of the cruise and are mostly walking tours (Bus to location). Viking is not a tour for ATV or zip line adventures. We found every site visited from minor (tea service at bell tower) to major (Great Wall) to be educational and fun. For China tours, Viking provides a tour guide that stayed with our 24 person group from pickup at the arrival airport to drop off at the departure airport. During the tours and particularly during the bus rides to the sites our tour guide provided a continuous entertaining and informative narrative. It was great to be able to ask questions as we traveled. Our Tour Guide was absolutely the best part of the Viking service. Weather is always an issue. At each location, Viking provided umbrellas for rainy days and cold bottled water for those hot days. Cons The tours require a lot of walking. Wheelchairs and walkers would not work at all. China does not provide disability accommodation. Meals Pros We requested vegetarian meals for one and noted a food allergy for the other. Each meal and even the box lunch provided for the domestic flights met these restrictions. Our needs were met at every meal. The meals at the hotels were buffet and were the best I have seen. The selection and varieties were great, from pizza to steak to oysters and shrimp to pastas. Cons After 2 weeks the Lazy Susan Chinese meals became somewhat redundant. Be prepared for local food and no hamburgers. Entertainment Pros The duo that provided the music for dance played a great selection of danceable music from swing to rumba to waltz and even a few Texas two steps. They played and joined in many popular line dances from Boot Scootin Boogie to the Cha Cha Slide. They took requests and on and allowed the passengers to join in for Karaoke. Cons On the ship the sixth floor dance floor was approximately 12ft x 12ft and the surface was very rough. As ballroom dancers we found this extremely small if more than one couple is dancing. The round dance floor on the 5th floor was much larger and smoother and should have been used. Hotel accommodation on Land portion Pros Hotels were all 5 star and comparable or better than USA Hilton, Wyndam, etc. hotels. We sated at Ritz Carlton Shanghai, Wyndham Xian and Regent Beijing. Hotels included iron, iron board, hair dryer, shampoos and soaps, At every hotel the service and personnel were extremely accommodation. Cons Travel tips for China Baggage: For domestic China and for the Air China flights international, the checked baggage were all weighed. The limit is 44 lbs. We were not charged for excessive since ours were under. We allowed for souvenirs and were at 36 lbs going and 44 lbs on return. The restrictions said carry on was limited to 11 lbs, however, we had a large gym bag type bag that would have fit under the seat which was not weighed. Any banned items in checked baggage are removed and discarded. USA TSA restrictions are followed in addition, in checked luggage, batteries, battery chargers, power strips, mercury thermometers are not allowed. Cigarette lighters and matches are banned from both checked and carry on. Tips: Take a lot of 10 and 20 Yuan bills for tips. Take 50s for major purchases. Credit cards are accepted on the ship and major city department stores and museum gift shops. Most stores and street vendors only take cash. The Chinese all pay with a Chinese app on their smart phones. Tour bus drivers: 20 Yuan ($3) per person per day. Helpers 1/2 of that. Yuan only Tour Guide: 70 Yuan ($10) per person per day. (Dollars or Yuan) – for 14 days this is $280. Cruise crew per cruise recommendation which can be paid by credit card on last day. Markets / Souvenirs: For street markets offer about ¼ or the initial price and settle between 1/3 and 1/2. Department brick and mortar stores do not bargain. If a Rolex or Jade necklace is $5 it absolutely is a fake. There are no antiques for sale. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
We wanted to visit Japan and we love Viking River cruises. This was our third one. My husband found this cruise and liked the idea of China and more importantly, the addition of Tibet, along with an extension in Tokyo. There were 4 ... Read More
We wanted to visit Japan and we love Viking River cruises. This was our third one. My husband found this cruise and liked the idea of China and more importantly, the addition of Tibet, along with an extension in Tokyo. There were 4 inter-city flights and the 7 night cruise on the Viking Emerald. We stayed at hotels in Beijing, Xi-an, Tibet and Shanghai. It was one of the most exhausting and exhilarating trips we've ever taken and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The hotels were all five star and the Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai, our last stop was fabulous. Xi-an's Shangra-La Hotel was a close second. But the Viking Emerald was a ship I'd take again without a second thought. The staff, the accommodations, the food on the ship, and the jewel-like shops especially were as nothing I've ever seen on any ship. We could have shopped only on the ship and had the most exquisite and high quality items that China could offer. Even the lovely souvenir shop was filled with stunning high quality pieces at very fair prices. The excursions were beyond our expectations and our guide Eric made the trip even more memorable. We could go and on in detail but I would give this cruise 10 stars, the best one yet. Read Less
Viking Emerald Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.5
Family N/A 3.5
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.6
Enrichment 5.0 4.4
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 4.0 4.5
Rates 4.0 4.2

Find a Cruise