Sail Date: November 2016
Viking did a great job of organizing a truly memorable trip. We arranged our own travel because we used our AA miles and flew business class for the 14 1/2 hour non-stop flight. We also made our own taxi arrangements to the Kerry Hotel ... Read More
Viking did a great job of organizing a truly memorable trip. We arranged our own travel because we used our AA miles and flew business class for the 14 1/2 hour non-stop flight. We also made our own taxi arrangements to the Kerry Hotel in Beijing and from Westin in Shanghai. Viking charged about $240 for transfers. I simply looked up the Hotel address and did a copy paste of it in Chinese into Word doc so I could give it to the taxi driver. Cost was about $20USD in Beijing and $70USD in Shanghai There were Ambassadors at the airport to give you an approximate cost and direct you toward licensed Taxis. We felt very safe and saved a lot of Money rather than Viking Transfers. Taxis are very small. We only had 2 pieces of luggage and it barely fit. When we checked into the Kerry Hotel, we had a letter from our Viking Tour Escort, Duan, with instructions for breakfast and the exact time and location to meet the next morning for our first tour in Beijing. Everything was very organized. Food at the Kerry was very good, served buffet style. Viking divided us into groups of 30-35 and assigned a guide to remain with us the entire trip. He was fantastic. We wore name tags daily with our name, his name in Chinese and his cell phone number on the back of our badge just in case we got separated from the group. We also were given Voice box devices so that we could hear him while on tours. We always boarded tour buses with Duan's name on it. Putting us in small groups allowed us to get to know people from all over. It was comforting to familiarize our group and recognize them throughout the tours. In Beijing, we toured the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Sacred Way of the Ming Tomb, and a rickshaw ride in Old Beijing's hutongs. There were two optional tours, a Kung Fu dinner/show ($22USD each) which everyone said was very good. We were to tired to attend. The other optional tour was a Peking Duck Dinner ($50 USD each) which we did attend. Duck was prepared at your table and other food choices were served on a lazy Susan. That evening, our tour escort collected our passports and made arrangements for our flight to Xian. Next morning we boarded buses to the airport where our guide took care of luggage transfers, getting our tickets and boarding passes. Boarding passes and passports were returned so we could go through security. When we arrived in Xian, we only had to identify our luggage and it was transferred to the Hilton Xian for us. Next day, after breakfast on our own in the hotel, we traveled to the site of the Terra Cotta Army. This was an amazing display and continual archeological discoveries. Lunch was at a local restaurant. That evening there was an optional Tang Dynasty Dinner and show for $70USD. Next morning, our luggage and passports were collected again by our escort and returned with boarding passes for our next airline flight to Chongquin where we embarked our ship. We had an early flight so when we landed; we went straight to the Zoo in perfect timing to watch the Pandas eat lunch. Baby panda put on quite a show. I was worried about the long walk down a narrow over the water bridge to board the ship but it was not as bad as reviews I had read. Every 6-8 feet was a Viking employee smiling, greeting us as we walked to the ship. Our veranda cabin was about 250 sq. ft. with a shower in the bathroom. Water was replenished daily. We were told to only drink bottled water while in China and even to brush out teeth with bottled water. There were only 250 passengers on the ship. Meals were served open seating. You could order off the menu at night or local fare served on the Lazy Susan. Soft Drinks, water, beer or wine were served frequently throughout the lunch and dinner meals. The next 5 days were on the Viking Emerald as we floated down the Yangtze River. Along the way, we toured the Shibaozhai Pagoda, the Gorges, tour of the world's largest hydroelectric power plant. On board, there was a calligraphy demonstration, a dumpling making demonstration, entertainment by the ship’s crew, and a tour of the bridge. Our next flight was from Wuhan, where we left the ship, to Shanghai. Intra flights were on China Eastern and Xiamen Airlines. Our flights were not long; and lunch was served in coach. In Shanghai, we stayed at the Westin Bund. We were within walking distance to the Bund. The Yu Garden tour was our only rainy day. After the beautiful tour, we had free shopping time in the local markets. Final night included a dinner at a local restaurant followed by the Shanghai Acrobat Show. Viking did a fantastic job on this fully escorted tour. The local hotels, the ship employees, and the local people provided wonderful service. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This was our first time to China and we're very happy we went with Viking to show us this area of the world. The guides were very nice and helpful at every turn. They always make sure you have a great experience and are safe at all ... Read More
This was our first time to China and we're very happy we went with Viking to show us this area of the world. The guides were very nice and helpful at every turn. They always make sure you have a great experience and are safe at all times. Our Viking experience was a bit different from going to Europe as we had a land portion that had to be done in order to see the sights of China that we wanted to see. Such as Beijing, Xian and Shanghai. This meant that we had to fly from a few cities. The flights were short and fine, and Viking made sure that all of our baggage was handled from departing our hotel room to our new hotel room. The included tours were very informative and well thought out. Some were very early in the morning, but that helped us to avoid some large crowds. We are looking forward to many more Viking experiences. Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This was our first river cruise. We are avid ocean cruisers and have done 55 cruises to date. We have been many times to Shanghai and a couple of times to Beijing over the years. We wanted to see more of China, as it is a vast country that ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. We are avid ocean cruisers and have done 55 cruises to date. We have been many times to Shanghai and a couple of times to Beijing over the years. We wanted to see more of China, as it is a vast country that can only be seen by visiting inland. We decided on Viking Cruises because it is a brand that we had heard a lot about. The Viking customer service we received in the UK was professional and responsive. The booking process was very easy. All the details regarding the cruise and obtaining the Chinese visa was sent on time. However, the information we received before booking the cruise was ambiguous and unclear. >> After we received our booklet with the summary itinerary, we realised that Viking do not provide any meals on the first day of the package >> As we had international baggage allowances, I enquired before we left about the lower luggage weights on the Chinese internal flights but Viking did not advise us that it would not be a problem with the weights because of group check in. As a result we took limited warm clothes. The weather was very cold in Beijing. >> We did not realise that the ship we would be cruising on was not a Viking ship. Viking use a Chinese ship that changed it's name back to the Chinese name 'Century...' on our disembarkation day. There was a sister ship in one of the ports. >> Viking do not explain that the only almost 4* experience that we would receive for the entire 12 nights related to the 5 days whilst we were onboard the ship and not to the land portion of our holiday. I have described the ship as 'almost' 4* because the ship is possibly only a 3* ship. When we boarded the ship in Wuhan, after 2 nights in Shanghai, we were greeted with a warm welcome stating that this was the start of our holiday and when we left after 5 days cruising, we were waved good bye with a message that this was the end of our holiday Viking Century Emerald - The Good & The Bad >> We had to change our cabin at 1:30 am because there was a rattling sound from the balcony and the water discharge plug was moving up and down making a din. >> The staterooms and the entire ship are faded and need complete renovation. It is brown and old. >> The food was alright but nothing to shout about. >> Beer wine and soft drinks are only offered at lunch and dinner >> The Chinese cultural entertainment by the crew was very good, considering that they are not professional. >> The management staff were always willing to listen and were helpful. >> Our cabin steward was non existent and we had to request amenities to be replenished. >> The ship's air conditioner did not work. It was cold at the bottom and stifelingly hot on the upper floors. It was like a sauna in the gym and internet room. >> The internet, although free was unavailable during most of the cruise. Pre and Post Cruise Hotels - Mixed Quality Pre cruise, we stayed in The Westin Bund Center, Shanghai for 2 days. The room we were allocated was on the 5th Floor and needed refurbishment. >> The carpet and chair needed to be changed. >> The air conditioner did not work both days and there was a problem with the automatic night lights behind a glass panel that kept going on and off every now and again during the first night. An engineer disabled the lights >> The breakfast in the main dining room was probably the best that we had on our entire trip. There was a fantastic variety of Chinese and Western food in the buffet. >> Viking had arranged 1 night's dinner in the hotel and it was described as an Italian buffet dinner. This was very poor. There were a couple of hot dishes with soup and pizza, pasta and sandwiches. Post cruise, we stayed in The Hilton, Xi'an and The Ritz Carlton Financial Street, Beijing >> The Hilton room was probably the best one that we stayed in on this trip. >> At the Ritz Carlton, we had to move out of the room we were allotted on the 3rd Floor because the carpet was badly stained and looked dirty. The management were extremely helpful and we were moved immediately to the 10th Floor Throughout our stay we were treated with courtesy and made to feel very welcome. The last day, Viking arranged for us to have dinner in the main restaurant and this was good. Tour Guide - Excellent Our Tour Guide, Bob was very knowledgeable and dedicated to us. He knew his job inside and out and took care of every detail of our trip. Everything flowed seamlessly and we had great admiration for his enthusiasm, stamina and how he managed the group. Tours - All tours were well organised and coaches turned up on time to take us to places of interest. Local guides spoke good English and were knowledgeable. The optional tour in Xian (Tang Dynasty Performance + Dinner) which we paid for additionally was good. Food & Drinks - Very Poor Viking had arranged lunch and dinner in local restaurants or in factories in Shanghai, Xi'an and Beijing. The food was always the same either Chinese types offered on individual tables with 'lazy susans' in local restaurants or in buffets in the jade or carpet factories. The food was monotonous and usually lukewarm at best. We stopped going for the group meals in Beijing. We were only allowed 1 drink in a glass : a beer, water or soft drink, no wine. I don't drink beer or soft carbonated drinks, so I had water throughout the land portion in local restaurants. Internal Flights - Very Disruptive Only 1 of our 3 flights was on time. We had delays on 2 flights - from Shanghai to Wuhan where we missed a tour because we arrived too late and had to go straight to join the ship; and from Xi'an to Beijing, when the flight was cancelled and our guide had to get later flights. We were delayed by 4 hours and had a dreadful Chinese lunch at the airport in a set aside area. Conclusion China is a very complex and fascinating country. We learnt a lot about China's history, culture and people but we found the whole itinerary disjointed. We felt that we wasted 2 of our 12 days holiday sitting in airports. Although it is described as a Viking Cruise it really is a land tour with a small cruise thrown in the middle. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
Viking 13 Day China trip with 5-6 Yangtze River cruise. We went from Beijing to Shanghai. Basically North to South. A better route in that the first 5 days before getting to the boat, Beijing and Xian, you do a lot of touring and night ... Read More
Viking 13 Day China trip with 5-6 Yangtze River cruise. We went from Beijing to Shanghai. Basically North to South. A better route in that the first 5 days before getting to the boat, Beijing and Xian, you do a lot of touring and night time events. The boat gives you a chance to unwind and relax before going on to Shanghai. An exciting journey that I highly recommend. Viking does an excellent job of taking care of all 250 guests. We were 2 couples 62+ and we had a great time. About the hotels Viking had us stay- Beijing, J.W. Marriott Central; Xian the Crown Plaza; Shanghai the Four Seasons. All hotels were 5 stars with excellent room accommodations. The Crown Plaza turns off the A/C Nov.1 st. This created a problem for many guests as it was very warm in Xian at that time and rooms were as warm as 80 deg. F!! Some tips on the Beijing airport Arrival/Departure. Arriving at the Beijing airport-arrivals must take a shuttle train to area T3-C to exit and baggage pick up. Return from Shanghai to Beijing, on arrival at Beijing, a bus took us to the terminal building where you have to pick up the shuttle train to area T3-C for Departure. At Beijing airport, the security inspection of carry-on luggage may be over zealous and all your items spilled out onto the counter for examination. You must then reassemble all of the items back into your carry-on bags trying not to forget items such as your cell phone, wallet or keys that may have been spilled out. At the Shanghai airport inspection was more “relaxed” and courteous. Some of the dining experiences- Viking uses local restaurants as we tour between places. The lunch time dining is at "banquet halls" associated tourist places selling stuff. 1. Beijing-Jade/jewelry, 2. Xian-Terra Cotta warrior items. 3. Shanghai-Art works. That is-Beijing (lazy Susan), Xian (was a buffet with long lines), Shanghai (lazy Susan). These banquet hall restaurants have no ambience and can use some cleaning up and a spruce up. The bathrooms are really (1) low low, low on a scale of 1 to 5. You should be aware that the toilets (Happy Houses) are easier for the men but a little less accommodating for the women. Not all the stalls are sit-down western style. Toilet paper is bring you own while out touring. The restaurant in Shanghai had us sitting on at least one chair that was totally broken. Those restaurants serving lazy Susan buffet style do not provide serving utensils that permit more than a single morsel to be picked up. It was obvious that they wanted small portions to be eaten to cut the down on the expense of serving a more sufficient quantity to the guests. At one restaurant the serving utensils were small Chinese soup spoons. Everyone laughed. In the end you still have enough to eat. Think each item as a small plate and you’re just doing a tasting menu. Remember, this is China where big servings of meats, pork, fish, etc. is not the tradition. A personal bias - Living in NYC, and having the largest variety of Chinese and pan Asian restaurants to dine at, gives a biased view of the Lazy Susan/buffet foods served at the local restaurants. I was not impressed or excited by the items served. For example, Xian is famous for wide noodle dishes. None were served at our local lunch place. Yes, they served a small local tasty Xian burger, try it. Most Viking guests may not care or have the same experiences with the food for comparisons. In the end you won’t go hungry. On the other hand, the breakfast and dinner buffets at the 3 hotels had more expansive menus to meet the needs of the Asian and non –Asian guests. This was a great treat & very enjoyable. Obviously 4-5 star hotels do not cut costs with ingredients & small serving utensils. The Viking Emerald cruise ship provided a very good variety of dishes at all meals. Again the menu has to cater to majority of guests with non- Asian palates. The menu always had something Asian available. That was fun, even at breakfast. Don’t let the “on the road” dining dissuade you from this trip. It was well put together and unforgettable!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
First river cruise and first time with Viking. Trip was great. Be prepared to move along quickly; lots of walking. Staff on ship were wonderful; cruise through the Three Gorges area was awesome. Had a great tour guide that stayed with us ... Read More
First river cruise and first time with Viking. Trip was great. Be prepared to move along quickly; lots of walking. Staff on ship were wonderful; cruise through the Three Gorges area was awesome. Had a great tour guide that stayed with us the entire trip. His knowledge and willingness to talk about the culture and history added to much to the whole experience. Would love to go to China again. Food both on ship and during land portion was excellent . Added treat when we were able to unexpectedly visit a zoo prior to boarding the ship; saw many Pandas including 2 babies. Downside is the air and water pollution which is pretty much everywhere. Problems with air conditioning in one hotel which were beyond control of tour guides. Rooms in hotels were well appointed and in areas where you could walk. Ended up purchasing a extra suitcase in Shanghai to bring home purchases. Enjoyed the extension in Shanghai. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
First time with Viking and wanted to be fully escorted on our first trip to China. Heard great things about Viking in China and it did not disappoint. Viking took care of us from the moment we landed in Beijing until we flew home from ... Read More
First time with Viking and wanted to be fully escorted on our first trip to China. Heard great things about Viking in China and it did not disappoint. Viking took care of us from the moment we landed in Beijing until we flew home from Shanghai. Ship did not have a lot of entertainment but we were tired each day from our tours so it did not matter. Staff on the ship remembered our names and what we like to eat and drink which made going into the dining room or bar area more welcoming. I had the tailor make me a lined jacket as well as a silk robe which is very nice to have as a memory. Massages are available on board and they are all very reasonable considering it is a cruise ship and usually those are very expensive. I would recommend a Viking Cruise if you want to visit China! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Both my wife and I had been to Beijing, Shanghai and Xi'an before, so our main interest is the Three Gorges and the Panda base in Chengdu. One caution, Viking told us luggage allowance is very limited, so I dropped extra lenses for my ... Read More
Both my wife and I had been to Beijing, Shanghai and Xi'an before, so our main interest is the Three Gorges and the Panda base in Chengdu. One caution, Viking told us luggage allowance is very limited, so I dropped extra lenses for my camera, removed warm layers for cold weather. Once we got there, first thing our tour escort told us was that we do not have to worry about luggage weight as we were doing group check-in, we do not even have to worry about hand-carry weight as we will never see the counter. Due to Viking's warning, I missed a lot of good shots because I removed my ultra wide lens from my luggage. Also, we had to buy extra clothes at a very expense mall (can you say Gucci or LV?) next to the hotel due to the cold weather in Beijing. We even had to buy an extra suitcase, though very cheap one, so we can bring our stuff home, I would not have to do that if I had used my slightly heavier international carry-on instead of a tote bag for the sake of saving weight. The good: The Three Gorges is beautiful, though it would have been much nicer if all the destroyed/flooded ancient structures were still around to be seen. Most hotels for the land tour are nice, with Westin in Chongqing and St. Regis in Chengdu being exceptional. However, food at pretty much all the hotels are not that good, we had better food in similar 5 star hotels in Vietnam and Cambodia. Domestic flights, everything was arranged, we never even saw the check-in counter. We just had to collect our passports and boarding passes and head for security check, very nice. For all 5 domestic flights, we only had to collect our own luggages twice, the rest of the time we just need to ID our luggages that were collected by the ground crew. The bad: Room is okay with the least closet space we've seen on cruise ships including the old one Viking uses for Vietnam. The food on the ship is okay but nothing to write home about. The food on the land cruise is terrible, we are Chinese and know the difference between good and bad Chinese food, authentic and American Chinese food. Viking picked below average American Chinese food in most places we stayed, for that matter, it was pretty much the same dishes everywhere we went. I guess it is for economic reason. I wish they would just let us pay our own bill on land, just take us to a place where we can make our own choice. Private transfer to/from airport. When we landed in Shanghai, the Viking guide was nowhere in sight at the arrival area. We walked around looking for someone with a Viking sign for at least 30 minutes and were about to take a cab. As a last resort, I walked up to a Four Seasons person and asked about transportation to the hotel, after 5 minutes of explaining, a girl ran up to us after she heard me mentioned Viking. She claimed to have been there for an hour but we sure did not see any Viking sign the whole time. When we were leaving for the airport, our tour escort sent 2 other passengers on our ride for free, though we paid 240.00 for that single transfer. I understand that there was extra room, but it is not fair to us as we had to pay. So arrange for your own limo ride. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I selected this cruise to see mainland China with additional tours of Guilin and Hong Kong. Some of the high points of the tour were the Three Gorges Dam, the Tera-cotta Warriors, the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. Highly ... Read More
I selected this cruise to see mainland China with additional tours of Guilin and Hong Kong. Some of the high points of the tour were the Three Gorges Dam, the Tera-cotta Warriors, the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. Highly recommended. The ship and the staff were all very attentive and service was excellent. The menu was excellent, with dishes from various parts of China. It was interesting to have vendors on each of the decks selling souvenirs and other items. There was one vendor selling different verities of Tea, and with the tea the seller explained the history and the serving procedures. I found this very interesting since I was not aware that the serving of tea affected the taste At several of the ports, the ship personnel would do a short presentation (i.e. 1 hour) on what the Shore excursion would be. All the tour guides were friendly and knowledgable about the sites we visited, and they spoke near perfect English. All the hotel accommodations were five stars and the restaurants were excellent. I would not go on this tour again (not a fault of Viking), but my own personal choice. I want to see/visit other places in the world and would definitely select Viking Tours to travel with. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
It combined visits to several key Chinese cities and tourist attractions with six days on the Yangtze River. A great combination. We were well cared for from start to finish. Hotels were excellent and food was great with lots of choice ... Read More
It combined visits to several key Chinese cities and tourist attractions with six days on the Yangtze River. A great combination. We were well cared for from start to finish. Hotels were excellent and food was great with lots of choice including western and Chinese dishes. The sight seeing hit the high lights from the Imperial City and the Great Wall to the terra-cotta warriors to the Three Gorges and the Bund in Shanghai. The guides were excellent, really knew their material and had a fine command of English. The support staff did a fine job of taking care of getting tickets and getting bags fro one spot to another. Although the overall group was over 230 people, the fact we were divided into 8 small groups made for an enjoyable and friendly experience. After busy days on shore it was good to settle in on the Emerald for some more relaxing days. We enjoyed all the excursions off the boat with the school visit especially fine. A footy day meant we did not see too much of the Three Gorges Dam, but the weather could not be helped. We had a fine time and would certainly do another Viking Cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This Viking trip -- Imperial Jewels of China -- got great review from friends and our travel agent which is why we took it. This was a 3 part cruise: 2 parts land with a 5 day river cruise on the Yangtze River between the 2 land ... Read More
This Viking trip -- Imperial Jewels of China -- got great review from friends and our travel agent which is why we took it. This was a 3 part cruise: 2 parts land with a 5 day river cruise on the Yangtze River between the 2 land segments. Embarkation at Chongqing and debarkation at Wuhan were smooth as silk. Our ship, the Viking Emerald, was immaculate and our cabin was spacious, clean, and very comfortable. Dining was superb with great variety and the wait staff couldn't have been more attentive. The wait staff quickly learned our names, our drinks preferences, and our general likes in terms of food offered. We were sad to leave the wait staff when we disembarked in Wuhan. Onboard entertainment was very enjoyable and informative while our shore excursions were truly spectacular, especially the Shibaozhai Temple and the Goddess Stream. I would recommend this cruise to anyone who wants a trip-of-a-lifetime experience in China. 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

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