1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
I chose this cruise as a way to see some of China. I have traveled to European and American cities on my own, but was reticent to try China without a guide. Viking fulfilled that need perfectly. We were met right outside security at the ... Read More
I chose this cruise as a way to see some of China. I have traveled to European and American cities on my own, but was reticent to try China without a guide. Viking fulfilled that need perfectly. We were met right outside security at the airport and escorted from that moment whenever required. The hotels were top of the line luxurious. We were very well taken care of. There was never a time we were concerned about what to do or where to go. The Viking staff were available for any help needed. We saw everything promised. Our guide and all the excursions were excellent. The culture, entertainment, and activities enriched my life. The groups were small enough to get acquainted with our fellow travelers. Our guide was on top of every little issue any of the guests had. He was outstanding and helpful always. The staff on board the river boat was helpful and the food was tasty. The only problem was that our cabin steward needed improvement. His cleanliness standard was not up to Viking's usual. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
A great bucket list trip. From start to finish it was well organized and the tour guides were knowledgeable, friendly and fluent in English. All the transfers from airports to the tour sites to the ship, etc, were well organized and ... Read More
A great bucket list trip. From start to finish it was well organized and the tour guides were knowledgeable, friendly and fluent in English. All the transfers from airports to the tour sites to the ship, etc, were well organized and painless. The hotel accommodations on shore were first class. The ship was clean, the staff very friendly, the food was excellent but watch the wasabi - it's nuclear hot! The shore excursions and tours were very enjoyable and well conducted. Seeing the diversity in the landscape and how people lived and worked was interesting. The ship was well appointed with standard-type staterooms all with individual room baloney. Amenities were good and the king style bed was excellent. The evening entertainment was interesting showing off the mix of Chinese culture and dress. This trip is a real good introduction to China and its diverse peoples. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
This was our very first cruise and it was absolutely amazing. We were looked after so well from the minute we were picked up at the airport until the minute they left us at the other end of our holiday. Our tour guide was Joshua and he ... Read More
This was our very first cruise and it was absolutely amazing. We were looked after so well from the minute we were picked up at the airport until the minute they left us at the other end of our holiday. Our tour guide was Joshua and he was so knowledgeable. The entertainment on board ship was really good and the service we received was excellent. The staff even managed to remember our names! All of the excursions were amazing especially the Terracotta Army, which was my personal favourite. We are now saving hard for our next trip with Viking. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
This was my first Viking River Cruise and it was outstanding. I took this trip alone with no expectations and was pleased to have the time of my life. I enjoyed every minute of the trip and especially meeting some very nice people. That ... Read More
This was my first Viking River Cruise and it was outstanding. I took this trip alone with no expectations and was pleased to have the time of my life. I enjoyed every minute of the trip and especially meeting some very nice people. That is part of traveling. I was pleased that the trip was very well planned by Viking. The hotel accommodations were perfect and our tour guide Kobe was excellent. He made the trip so much fun and I know we learned a lot about China from Beijing to Shanghai. Service on board the ship was very good and the young people who were serving us were very friendly and helpful as was my cabin attendant. All of the staff aboard the ship were very good and very helpful. The shore excursions were well planned and very enjoyable and quite a learning experience. The food was very good as was presentation. The choices were amazing. The entertainment was beyond good it was excellent. Seeing the young servers perform was very special and they did a great job. I was so pleased to attend the Peking Opera, The Tang Dynasty Dinner and Show (I bought a DVD of the Tang Dynasty performance so I can always enjoy this great show), the Shanghai Museum and Bell performance and the Acrobat Show. I could go on and on - I have recommended this trip to friends and family. I look forward to my upcoming Viking River Cruise on the Elbe in May 2016. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
From booking to landing in Beijing we were supported all the way. (Make sure that you have Viking sort out your visa's, makes life easier) At the Beijing airport we were met by our excellent guide who was with us all through the trip. ... Read More
From booking to landing in Beijing we were supported all the way. (Make sure that you have Viking sort out your visa's, makes life easier) At the Beijing airport we were met by our excellent guide who was with us all through the trip. The hotels were supperb all 5 star with all interconnections carefully corriagraphed. The excursions were fantastic, Tianamen square, the Great Wall, and the forbidden city. Then Xian to see the terra cotta warriors, what an awesome spectacle. Onwards to Chongqing to board the Emerald, a great cruise down the Yangsi river with marvellous sites and excursions. The staterooms were a very pleasant surprise as to their sheer size. Felt much larger than anticipated. If you can start in Beijing and finish in Shanghai, it's not just a cruise but a journey through an amazing country so can be a bit full on. The crew were all friendly and attentive and ensured a very pleasant trip. This was our first trip with Viking Cruises and we are now looking forward to doing a European river trip. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
What a wonderful trip, this being my second time with Viking in China. This is a different ship that the last time, but just as nice and comfortable with the greatest room steward I have ever had on any size ship. The selection and ... Read More
What a wonderful trip, this being my second time with Viking in China. This is a different ship that the last time, but just as nice and comfortable with the greatest room steward I have ever had on any size ship. The selection and variety of food, the quality of the free wines and beers on the ship was everything anyone could want. Service also was efficient and fast, with young men and women who were more than happy to being their jobs. The highlight of the ships entertainment was put on the ships own crew, what a great job, their young man doing all the arrangements has a great future ahead of him. Tours were of the best to be offered in China, with excellent local guides, our group leader was also on his toes at all times and we covered everything we needed to see without feeling rushed. The land portion was at 5 star hotels, great clean comfortable rooms excellent meals and service. It was amazing to see how much China has changed in the ten years since I had been there last. For those who would love to see China I can highly recommend Viking with any of the other trips that they offer. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
This was our fourth cruise. The other cruises were in Europe. It was the experience of a lifetime and the only one we would consider taking again if the opportunity arose. The country was beautiful, the people of China warm and friendly ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise. The other cruises were in Europe. It was the experience of a lifetime and the only one we would consider taking again if the opportunity arose. The country was beautiful, the people of China warm and friendly and the children were awesome to watch and interact with. Viking met every criteria of providing service and addressing every need before we even knew the need was there. Their staff met us at the airport when our plane landed and never left our side until we entered security in the airport as we flew out. The cultural experiences, musical performances, museums, and artist venues were both educational and enthralling. Our favorite was the Viking staff performance on the Emerald by the waiters, house keeping staff, and ship's crew one night. The show they created was our favorite of the entire trip. The food was excellent. Our cabin roomy and comfortable. The itinerary for the next day was given out the evening before with an overview of what we would be seeing/doing and time for question and answer session at the end. It was one highlight after another. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Tour began in Shanghai, Ritz Carlton hotel, flew to Wuhan for 6 night cruise on Yangtze River, Viking Emerald , first class ship, service, crew, food and sightseeing, then on to Xian and the Terra Cotta Warriors, then to Beijing to see ... Read More
Tour began in Shanghai, Ritz Carlton hotel, flew to Wuhan for 6 night cruise on Yangtze River, Viking Emerald , first class ship, service, crew, food and sightseeing, then on to Xian and the Terra Cotta Warriors, then to Beijing to see the Great Wall, Tienneman Square, Forbidden City, Hutong and other sights. Stayed at the Ritz Carleton. Almost all excursions and food included. Fabulous Chinese guide for our small group of 38 throughout the tour. All details handled, just relax and enjoy. Spring flowers were in bloom when we went. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
I heard about this excellent Viking tour of China from fellow passengers on another Viking River cruise. I had never been interested in touring China until I had experienced two other excellent Viking cruises. I trusted that this trip ... Read More
I heard about this excellent Viking tour of China from fellow passengers on another Viking River cruise. I had never been interested in touring China until I had experienced two other excellent Viking cruises. I trusted that this trip would be as good but I was wrong. This was by far the best trip. I loved our guide, Paul, who cared for us, met every need, and kept us so informed and educated. Having several days each in Bejing, Shainghai and Xian were wonderful as the accommodations, meals, transportation and sight-seeing activities gave us many opportunities to see and experience China. Climbing the Great Wall and seeing the terra cotta warriors were on my bucket list but I hadn't thought I would ever do so. I checked those off the list and much more; such as doing dance aerobics on the corner of Xian with the local women, talking with the children at the park and in school, cruising on the Yangtze in the mist and enjoying the entertainment in the cities and especially by the cruise staff on the ship. The food was excellent. The shopping was great. All the tour experiences were wonderful. I would recommend Viking and this particular cruise to anyone. I have one thought for those considering this trip. Plan ahead and study if you can. I try to learn a little in advance of the tour in preparation, such as a few language phrases. I loved using my Mandarin and trying to communicate with the locals. They enjoyed it and us as much as we enjoyed them. I am now anxiously awaiting our next Viking cruise in Portugal. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
This was our first venture into China, so we booked all air and transfers through Viking. They flew us to Beijing a day early which was appreciated. We flew Air China which offered nothing out of the ordinary regarding space or food. It ... Read More
This was our first venture into China, so we booked all air and transfers through Viking. They flew us to Beijing a day early which was appreciated. We flew Air China which offered nothing out of the ordinary regarding space or food. It got us where we needed to be both directions. We were met by a Viking representative who took us to the beautiful Kerry Hotel. The bathroom here was the talk of the tour. It has the most high teck toilet I've ever used. It also offers a bountiful breakfast buffet, and a very nice evening buffet as well. We are very glad we did this trip in November. The temperatures were moderate to cool. Because of the APEC conference, factories in the Beijing area were closed for the week or so before hand and only half the cars (either odd or even license plates depending on the date of the day) were permitted to drive so air quality was better. We heard tales of very hot summer weather. Advice offered in other reviews led us to book starting in Beijing. This is indeed a very active tour, and since it begins with walking Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall the first two days very glad we packed our insoles. Because we arrived a bonus day early, we took the subway to the Summer Palace. Young people speak good enough English and were very helpful in finding stations and giving directions when we needed them. There is an optional tour to this Palace, but it is easily done on your own for less than $2, and you have the adventure to talk about. Day 5 included Xian and its Terra Cotta Warriors. Enough time there to get a good look and lots of photos. We didn't attend the optional Tang Dynasty show, but those who did were positively impressed. The following day we flew to Chongqing to board the Emerald which is leased from the Chinese. The staff is all Chinese and works very hard to insure a pleasant journey. The first few nights there were problems with temperature controls. Dining room very warm, cabins usually too warm, sometimes too cold. Food on the ship was plentiful and good. Food on tour was adequate. Meals on tour are usually served one course at a time. ie, the beans are put on a lazy susan. All people at the table help themselves. Pity the last person to be served, cause there isn't always enough. Then come the next 9 items, one at a time ending with soup or a slice of watermelon. So you may taste a bite of 10 dishes, and one of these is always tofu, and smalls bits of fish, pork or beef. One day we experienced hot pot. There are other comprehensive reviews and the Viking itinerary offers more touring details, so I'll let you know that the guides are wonderful. Their English is excellent, they are well versed in culture, history and current events. They find good restrooms on tour...sometimes there are lines because of limited western toilets for the ladies. They are able to answer questions forthrightly and give insight into the thoughts of young people. There is, it seems to me an excessive amount of residential building going on in most cities in China. "Ghost towns" seem to be everywhere. There is almost too much time for shopping, but some loved that aspect too. The multi talented crew presented two evening shows. One featured beautiful costumes and dances of various ethnic groups in China. The other was a very well done variety show. The fellow who poured our wine was a pretty good magician.! The cruise director gave interesting lectures on history and culture. We also enjoyed presentations on noodle making and Chinese art. There is no wifi on board! There are 8 computer stations on deck 6, and a terminal was usually available, though connections were very slow. Disembarkation and transfers to Shanghai were handled efficiently. We learned so much, saw and experienced more than we'd expected. Although there were a few people who had difficulty walking, I'd recommend this trip well before you need a knee replacement, or after you've healed because it is a very active trip and mobility issues will interfere with seeing many sites.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
This was our first experience with Viking and although the cruise part of the tour and pre cruise trip was only 5 days, the entire trip was 15 days for us. There were lots of logistics for them to handle and we felt they did an excellent ... Read More
This was our first experience with Viking and although the cruise part of the tour and pre cruise trip was only 5 days, the entire trip was 15 days for us. There were lots of logistics for them to handle and we felt they did an excellent job. In fact we have signed up for a 30+ day Baltic/ Norwegian/Iceland extravaganza on their new ocean ships for 2016. We feared that 5 star in China might not mean 5 star, but really I think it is pretty accurate, but this is not a cruise for the person looking to go to the spa, dress up, drink exotic cocktails, see glitzy shows, dance and gamble the night away. This is for the hard core travel addict who is there to see the country, expand their horizons and come home with a new appreciation for a different culture, but wants comfort and safety. The tour guides and staff took their jobs very seriously and gave us wonderful personal insights into their country. We have cruised on many different cruise lines, but Viking seems to have matched our interests better than the others. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
Roof of the World was a trip of a lifetime! My husband and I thoroughly recommend it for both the cultural and historical aspects. We chose this excursion because it included visiting different areas of China and Llhasa, Tibet. Our group ... Read More
Roof of the World was a trip of a lifetime! My husband and I thoroughly recommend it for both the cultural and historical aspects. We chose this excursion because it included visiting different areas of China and Llhasa, Tibet. Our group of 38 people were housed and traveled separately from other Viking groups (except on the river cruise) because we were the only group going to Tibet. Viking assigns a guide who remains with you throughout this trip. Our guide, Francis, is a Bejing native, and was by far the best guide we've ever had in our many travel experiences. He has 10+ years of travel industry experience and is able to share his personal experiences of the past 30-years of change within his country. Our time aboard the Emerald on the Yangtze River was marvelous. Cruising on this river we could enjoy a variety of local and business traffic, the farmers and fishers in their daily activities, the amazing Three Gorges and the minor gorges, Three Gorges Dam, and large and small cities along the route. Our cabin was compact but thoroughly comfortable. Closet space was a premium, but suitcases fit under the bed so you can store unnecessary clothing. (Note: this cruise is a relaxed environment/dressy casual atmosphere, so formal clothing is not needed here nor on land. Comfort is key!) The Emerald staff are helpful, friendly, and courteous. If they can't understand your question, they find someone who will help you. Of particular note are Lois (lounge), Paul (activities), and the head of the dining room (sorry, but I forgot his name!). With my food allergy, everyone was able to help me avoid problems. We were amazed at how rapidly staff remembered our names and room numbers! If you like to visit the lounge and like wine, we encourage you to sign up for the Premium package! Ordering from the menu or visiting the daily buffet gives a variety of food options. The port and shore excursions included local guides with detailed knowledge of history, traditions, and daily activities. We enjoyed walking through towns, museums, and temples to see and hear the local activities. The Vox speaker system is a perfect in these situations! The visit to a local Tibetan home was an excellent experience. The Viking School children visiting us onboard was wonderful. We were extremely lucky with beautifully clear weather on most days of our trip. The Great Wall was spectacular with fall foliage and blue skies. We know this isn't always the case, and breathing can be difficult for those with asthma or related health issues. Tibet's elevation makes moving and breathing difficult, but the people, places, and food makes it very worth drinking lots of water, resting, avoiding alcohol, and, if necessary, using oxygen. Embarkation, disembarkation, airport check-in, and baggage handling are very efficient. We enjoyed having someone else handling all this for us. A carryon bag and small "daypack" are essential in addition your checked bag. Be prepared for staying in luxury hotels, eating a variety of foods, and non-western toilets. Take this trip and be adaptable. Viking's trip to China and Tibet is excellent! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
This was our first trip to China. Not only were our land travels fantastic, but our experience on this cruise was fabulous! Because the ship was smaller than the much larger ocean liners we have been on, it was a much more intimate ... Read More
This was our first trip to China. Not only were our land travels fantastic, but our experience on this cruise was fabulous! Because the ship was smaller than the much larger ocean liners we have been on, it was a much more intimate experience. The food and dining were excellent and the service was outstanding. The staff was very friendly and personable. We felt the one seating for all of the passengers allowed us to get to know others who were not in our own group. The on-board entertainment was quite good and those staff members who participated did very well. Most of the views along the river were incredible & the shore excursions we took were wonderful. As retired educators, my husband and I really enjoyed the trip to the school and the experiences with the children. Overall, with our excellent guide, Iowa, (as he likes to be called) and the other guides along the way on the land portion, we feel this was one of the best trips we have taken. We haven't stopped talking about it since we have returned and recommended it to almost everyone we have told about it. We now want to take other river cruises as a result. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
Pictures, films, books, and magazines fall short of capturing China in it's beauty, frenzy, contradictions, and growth to modernization. The Viking cruise did a fantastic job in showing as much as possible in a short period of time. ... Read More
Pictures, films, books, and magazines fall short of capturing China in it's beauty, frenzy, contradictions, and growth to modernization. The Viking cruise did a fantastic job in showing as much as possible in a short period of time. Everything was well planned, well timed, and executed. The tour escort Jenna was exceptional. The ship was very comfortable with good food, cabins, lectures, activities, and staff. The pace was good for older travelers wherein we saw a lot but were not hurried from place to place. We had time to rest with some leisure time on board. We took the extension to Guilin and Hong Kong which was well worth it. All the hotels were 5 star by western standards. The buses were comfortable and modern. We could not have covered as much ground on our own in such a huge country especially not knowing the language. Vikings airport service was efficient and much appreciated. They handled all our ticketing and bags from the moment we booked, arrived in Shanghai until we left the country with no slip ups. This is a first class operation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to China with Viking River Cruises, in October 2014. We were very lucky with the weather & it was hot & sunny for the whole trip. There was bad smog in Beijing a few days before & after we were ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to China with Viking River Cruises, in October 2014. We were very lucky with the weather & it was hot & sunny for the whole trip. There was bad smog in Beijing a few days before & after we were there, but we had blue skies for the duration of our visit. We chose to do the Beijing to Shanghai trip, so that we got a bit of a rest on the cruise after the more hectic part of the itinerary & we were happy with this decision. Beijing - We stayed at the Kerry Hotel (Shangri-La) & thought it was lovely. The high-tec toilet amused us. As it is in the financial district, there was not that much to do in the immediate vicinity, but we had a walk around for an hour & it was pleasant enough - you don't get that much spare time on this trip anyway. Tiananmen Square & Forbidden City - The Square was looking very colourful, as all the flowers & decorations from the 50th Anniversary celebrations were still present. Viking get fast track entry, so we avoided the huge queues for the Forbidden City. I had been a bit concerned about all the walking on this trip, as I am overweight & unfit, but although we were walking for about 4 hours here, it was at a leisurely pace with lots of stops whilst Yang, our guide, talked about points of interest & gave us an insight to the history. Yang had a walkie-talkie & we had receivers with ear pieces, so you could hear what he was saying at all times, without having to crowd around him. Peking Opera Excursion - Didn't think much to this, it seemed pretty amateurish & with hind sight would definitely have given this a miss. Sounded more like a cat howling, than pleasant singing! Great Wall - We arrived at the wall quite early, to try & avoid the crowds, but it already looked quite crowded on the 'easy' side. Once we arrived at the gates, we arranged a group meeting time & were then able to have free time on the wall. We decided to try the 'harder' side, as it looked far less busy. The wall was quite steep in places & the steps leading up to the last tower in that section of wall looked almost vertical, so we backtracked at that point. The views were fantastic & the Wall was our highlight of the whole China trip. Peking Duck Excursion - My husband enjoyed this more than me. Yes, the Duck was very nice, but there was not very much of it & I didn't find the rest of the meal particularly appetising. I though it was quite expensive for what it was - but we can say we've experienced authentic Peking duck! Houtongs - I was a bit apprehensive about this visit as I felt it seemed a bit intrusive, but we really enjoyed the rickshaw ride & were made very welcome on on the visit to a local family house. It really makes you appreciate the comforts we have at home! Xian - We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. It was perfectly acceptable, but not as nice as the several Shangri-La's that we stayed at. Terracotta Warriors - Amazing! The scale of the pits is just incredible. Sacred Way of Ming Tombs - This was just like a walk through a park, with statues either side of the walkway. Very pleasant due to the great weather, but you are no where near the actual tombs. Tang Dynasty Show Excursion - Brilliant & very professional, would definitely recommend it. Dinner was enjoyable too, with good seats at the front. Viking Emerald - We were very impressed with the cruise ship & our cabin. The cabin was reasonably spacious for a ship & the balcony was lovely. On arrival there were 'Chinese Year' cards on the beds, with our appropriate animal & description - I'm a Rabbit & my Husband is a Monkey! Nice touch. We were left small gifts on the pillow each day. We didn't have any difficulty with boarding/disembarking at any of the ports, although there were sometimes a few steps to climb, without handrails. Shibaozhai Temple - About a 15 min walk from the ship, through a market, then across a suspension bridge, to get to the temple. To get to the top, it means climbing the nine flights of steep rickety stairs inside. The stairs were quite steep & there were not handrails at every point. You are given the option of staying at the bottom & admiring the view whilst waiting for the others - maybe a good option if you are less mobile. I decided to give it a go & managed to get to the top ok, so I was quite pleased with myself! Three Gorges - Transfer onto a smaller boat for the cruise up the gorges. Very scenic. Back on the ship, in the evening it takes 4 hours to get through the huge Three Gorges Locks. The Three Gorges Dam was quite impressive, although we couldn't see the full expanse of the dam, due to mist. School Visit - Interesting. I took small gifts for the children, but unfortunately had estimated class sizes similar to the UK, so took 40 gifts - but the classes in China can have up to 70 children per class. Therefore, I did not distribute the gifts, just left them with the teacher on the way out. On leaving the school, I noticed there was a box at the gate, for you to leave the gifts - then they are all distributed at a later date. We appeared to be in the minority, however, as most other people had not taken gifts. Wuhan - Disembarked from the ship here & had time to kill before the flight to Shanghai. We were taken to a local museum & I thought this was the worst part of the whole trip - the local guide just rambled on & on about certain objects. I found it too boring, so went & sat outside, waiting for the group to finish & come out. I'm sure there must be something more interesting Viking could find to do in Wuhan (although I'm not a great fan of museums, so this is just my opinion!). Shanghai - We stayed at the Westin Bund Centre Hotel. Again, this was fine, but not as good as the Shangri-La's. It was about a 10 min walk to the Bund (waterfront) & Yang took us on an unscheduled walk in the evening, to see the lights - not to be missed, spectacular! Old Shanghai - Pretty gardens & gift shops within the old style buildings. A nice morning! Shanghai Museum - Another Museum, but this was better than the one in Wuhan. We were given a meeting time & allowed to wander around at our own pace. Personally, I would have preferred an afternoon of free time, to visit the Bund again in daylight & see a bit more of Shanghai. Acrobat Show - Excellent! We did the Guilin/Hong Kong extension & I would thoroughly recommend it. Guilin - We stayed at the Shangri-La Hotel & it was fantastic. Yang took us on a (again unscheduled) visit to the Town, in the evening. He arranged foot massages for those of the group who fancied it (most did) & he walked the few of us not having massages, around the local sites. It was very hot & humid in Guilin. Li River Cruise - The scenery along the Li River is just amazing. Like nothing you will see anywhere else. There were water buffalo grazing in the river & we also saw cormorant fishermen. Hong Kong - We stayed at the Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel & I contacted Viking before the trip, to upgrade to a harbour view room. The hotel was great, with a brilliant view over the harbour to Hong Kong Island - well worth the upgrade. We had a tour of Hong Kong with Viking on the first morning, with a Sampan boat ride around the 'floating village' in the harbour & a stop at Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island. The following day was a 'free day', so we took the 'Big Bus' tour, which included a ferry ride over to Hong Kong Island & the Vehicular ride up to the Peak again. This is a hop-on/hop-off bus, so you can get off & explore various sites. The following day (our last), we took the MTR (metro) up to have a look around the Fish, Flower & Bird markets & the Mong Kok markets. We enjoyed the day, the MTR was easy to use & very clean. Guide - The total group when on board the ship was 250 people, but we were split into smaller groups for the land tour, each with it's own tour guide. Ours was a group of 35 & our guide was Yang. He spoke excellent English & was just brilliant. He was with us throughout the trip & was extremely helpful & knowledgeable. Having grown up during the cultural revolution, he gave us an interesting insight to life in China during this time. Yang also organised all the luggage collection & check in for the internal flights, so all we had to deal with at airports was our hand luggage. Food - Most was enjoyable, but certainly acceptable throughout. We did get fed a lot of Chinese food - but we were in China, so what would you expect? You usually sit at a table of 8-10 people (you can sit where/with whom you like) & dishes are placed on the rotating 'lazy susan' in the middle, for you to help yourself. You need to ensure that serving spoons are not sticking out, otherwise drinks tend to go flying! I was a bit concerned about this 'social eating', as I would usually prefer to sit at a table for two - but we soon got used to it & it was not a problem. We did get taken to restaurants with factory shops attached (Jade/Terracotta Warriors/Shanghai Silk), so there is the opportunity to spend some money after lunch. Drinks were included at lunch (one beer or soft drink) & there was always free bottled water available in the hotels & on the coach. Toilets - The Chinese tend to use 'squat over hole' type toilets, but Viking ensured that we visited the best 'Happy Rooms' & there was always a western style toilet available. Sometimes this meant quite a queue, if there were five squat cubicles & only one western toilet (potty). The doors are usually signed as to which type it is. There is usually toilet paper, but sometimes it is outside the cubicle, by the sinks. So carry tissues in your bag in case you forget to collect some! Tip - go to the loo in a restaurant mid-lunch, to avoid the queue at start/end of meal. Money - We took Yuan & Hong Kong Dollars for tipping & purchases in markets & small shops, where credit cards may not be accepted. Other than that, you don't need much cash. All the optional land tour excursions are paid for when departing the Ship (cash or credit card). There is quite a lot of tipping to be done - hotel bell boys/room maids, local tour guides, coach drivers. You tip your main Viking tour guide at the end of the trip. Tips on board the ship are left in an envelope put in the 'tip box' on the final day, so amounts are totally at your discretion. Alternatively, you can request they add it to your credit card bill. We also left some cash in our room for the room maid & tipped our two restaurant waitresses personally, as they had been very good.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
We are not easily impressed having been disappointed on many occasions, but this is one time where the trip actually lived up to its hype. While travel in China is not without its drawbacks, we felt that Viking did an excellent job of ... Read More
We are not easily impressed having been disappointed on many occasions, but this is one time where the trip actually lived up to its hype. While travel in China is not without its drawbacks, we felt that Viking did an excellent job of delivering the highlights of China within a reasonable time frame and at a reasonable cost. We like the corporate culture, and were amazed by our tour guide, Bonnie, and the staff onboard the Viking Emerald. I felt that the people Viking employed were very concerned about the welfare and comfort of the participants and very determined to give us personal insights that you would not have gotten had you tried to attempt a trip of this complexity on your own. We had no problem with food safety and were given unlimited bottled water everywhere we went. We only spent 5 days of the cruise tour on the ship, but we found it to be a pleasant experience. There was a pride in doing a superior job that we have not seen in a very long time. I think the Viking corporate culture breeds this type of employee and they should be commended for their excellence. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
First of all, I recommend doing the strenuous part of the trip first, Beijing to Shanghai. And spend time on the stairmaster and the eliptical prior to your trip! Viking packs the Beijing part of the trip with lots of walking and climbing ... Read More
First of all, I recommend doing the strenuous part of the trip first, Beijing to Shanghai. And spend time on the stairmaster and the eliptical prior to your trip! Viking packs the Beijing part of the trip with lots of walking and climbing (Tiennamen Square, the Great Wall, etc.). There is a lot of smog, but it didn't affect our breathing or ability to see. We enjoyed our trip with Viking so much. The hotels were stunning-Ritz Carlton, Hilton, Shangri-la. Our tour guide, Francis, was outstanding---excellent English, long in patience, and very organized. The Emerald was lovely. The staff was extremely friendly, especially my new friend Jane on her first cruise as a Viking employee. The food was good and the entertainment and lectures were top-notch. Those lectures made the cruise down the Yangtze so much more meaningful. The other stops on our trip were great also. The only complaint I had was the trip to the bronze museum in Xi'an. Viking needs to limit the visit to a short explanation of the bells, followed by the bell performance. The rest of the museum is boring. Shanghai is amazing. I wish we could have spent a bit more time there. The Guilin and Hong Kong extension was wonderful. Worth the extra time and money. Here are a few observations: If you don't like Chinese food, don't go. If you expect everyone to speak English, don't go. Read (and heed) the literature that Viking sends you, especially the part that says this is a strenuous trip. On the other hand, if you love trying new foods and new ways to eat them, if you are willing to learn and use some phrases in another language, and you want to see and learn as much as you can in a few short days, then start packing now!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
I just returned from this trip and it far exceeded my expectations. (I traveled the direction: Beijing to Shanghai.) First I can tell you that I heard nothing but good reviews from my fellow passengers about their own Tour Guide, but I ... Read More
I just returned from this trip and it far exceeded my expectations. (I traveled the direction: Beijing to Shanghai.) First I can tell you that I heard nothing but good reviews from my fellow passengers about their own Tour Guide, but I still think ours was the best: Terry! From start to finish everything was first class. The land portion has passengers staying in 5+ star hotels. Enough cannot be written about how outstanding the hotels were - one simply must experience them. Taking this tour, one sees all the highlights of China, and if there is something in particular you wish to see that is not on the itinerary, the staff is more than helpful in assisting you to put something together so that you can see what you wish. Do come prepared to be in, and experience, a non-Western country. Some individuals on my tours were disappointed they ate so much Chinese food! Others became impatient because a Chinese national could not understand English. Since we were in China this surprised me; I simply thought we all came expecting a country, food, culture and language very different from our own. As with touring anywhere outside of one's home country digestive tracts can become upset trying to adjust, so do come with over-the-counter preparations to help you with such symptoms. I had no issues at all, but about 10% of our group had mild to moderate digestive problems for a short duration. The Summer months can be hot and humid. I understand that Spring and Fall are perhaps ideal times to visit. My trip was at the tail end of Summer and so the climate was still fairly warm and muggy. Light-weight travel clothes that launder well by hand are ideal. On-board I would recommend asking for a dehumidifier for one's room as soon as you board. It will still feel a bit damp in the room, but the dehumidifier does make a pleasant difference. My recommendation is to make this tour starting with Beijing if possible. The Beijing portion is the most physically taxing - long day and significant walking at Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace and the second day at the Great Wall. It makes the relaxation when you get to the boat even more enjoyable. I do wish there had been one more day in Shanghai and others seemed to agree with this, so if your plans allow, add time in Shanghai. In all ways I recommend this tour. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
This was a first class tour of China. I would rate the 4 hotels we stayed in as 5 star. The Viking Emerald was modern and well maintained. The food on board was excellent. We had one guide who accompanied our group of 30 during the entire ... Read More
This was a first class tour of China. I would rate the 4 hotels we stayed in as 5 star. The Viking Emerald was modern and well maintained. The food on board was excellent. We had one guide who accompanied our group of 30 during the entire trip (she was excellent) and local guides joined us at each new city (they were very good and had expert knowledge of the local area). The entire trip was interesting and Tibet was most unusual and enjoyable. We had a wonderful time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
The cultural experience in China was excellent. The guides and ship staff were pleasant and hard working. English language skills were very good. The Viking Emerald, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Although the on-line information ... Read More
The cultural experience in China was excellent. The guides and ship staff were pleasant and hard working. English language skills were very good. The Viking Emerald, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Although the on-line information states that the ship was built in 2011, it is obviously a much older ship, possibly refurbished several times. The cabin floors were uneven and the bathrooms were very dated. The ship sported several different names on signs on midship and on the bow, so perhaps it is used by different cruise lines simultaneously. Food in the dining room was all right, as long as there were western-style meals served. If the menu was announced as "traditional Chinese dinner" you could count on really cheap cuts of meat, flavorless noodles and sauces and little variety in vegetables. We found it humorous that the chef's biggest claim to fame was the breakfast yogurt--which was good, but hardly something to write home about. The on-board informational talks were all given by the cruise director. While a nice person, he was hardly an expert in all of the topics that he tried to talk about, so the level of each talk was at about a 6th grade level. He was unable to answer most questions that were put to him. The on-board entertainment consisted entirely of different members of the ship's crew (cabin attendants, diningroom staff, security personnel) who had been dressed in different outfit/costumes and then waltzed around the dance floor swinging their arms. Nice effort, but completely amateur. The land portion of the cruise tour was very good. The hotels were excellent 4-5 star. Air travel within China was what you would expect for a tour group, but our main Viking guide facilitated everything very smoothly. The ports were what we came for, and were not disappointed. A lot of walking was required. We greatly enjoyed the huge number of cultural sights included in the tour, and the local guides provided by Viking were appreciated, although their English skills were not as good as the main guide's. The constant tipping took a little getting used to, but the main Viking guide facilitated the passengers acquisition of smaller local currency to make this process easier. It was a trip we will remember for the rest of our lives.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
We travelled on the Viking Imperial Jewels tour/river cruise at the end of July. We havecruised frequently on ocean cruises and are also independent travellers so this was a unique situation for us. Most of my angst was travelling with a ... Read More
We travelled on the Viking Imperial Jewels tour/river cruise at the end of July. We havecruised frequently on ocean cruises and are also independent travellers so this was a unique situation for us. Most of my angst was travelling with a difficult group. Viking is an outstanding company that we will travel with in the future. For those wanting to see China at a more than comfortable level this is a great trip. Eight groups of 34 make up the entire group travelling on the river. You are put into one of those groups and assigned a tour escort for the whole trip. We were blessed with a great group, mostly teachers due to the time of the year. Our tour escort, Iowa, was outstanding. He provided free and open opinions about China, including first hand information about him in Tianemenan Square in 1989. He was organized and professional. The hotels that are used are 5-6 star quality. We stayed at the Ritz Carlton. Portman in Shanghai, the Hilton in Xi'an and the Regent in Beijing. Outstanding in every way! This is NOT a shopping tour although there are chances to spend money, mostly at Viking approved places. Jade, silk embroidery, silk carpets and Xi'an souvenirs are some of the stops. You have to spend your free time going out to the markets as Viking does not encourage this. There is a tailor aboard the ship if you want a custom silk jacket made, as well as a pearl store and Chinese artist. Each day of the cruise provides for a shore excursion, included in the price. We toured the Three Gorges Dam, toured the Lesser Three Gorges by small boat and climbed the Shaobazhai Temple. There is not a lot to do on the ship so be prepared to relax and read. There is no promenade deck to walk around. We travelled in the summer so there was very, very hot and humid weather. All the daily talks were very informative. The food was very good and plentiful - the best thing is the homemade yogurt served in small jars. Delicious. The staff works extremely hard, especially Lois, the bar manager. The premium bar package at 150.00 is great value, especially if you like trying other wines and enjoy drinks other than beer and wine. House wine and beer and no extra charge however the only choice is Chardonnay. That sold me on the package. Don't expect Wifi, it doesn't exist. There are 6 computers, slow but always available. Wifi is available at Ll hotel free of charge. This is a VERY good trip and an excellent way to see China. I would highly recommend it.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
As with most of our fellow passengers, this was our first visit to China. The trip comprised three land centres punctuated by a five day cruise on the Yangtze. The selected hotels in Shanghai, Xian and Beijing were all of a very high ... Read More
As with most of our fellow passengers, this was our first visit to China. The trip comprised three land centres punctuated by a five day cruise on the Yangtze. The selected hotels in Shanghai, Xian and Beijing were all of a very high quality. Our trip started in Shanghai and ended in Beijing. This to us seemed the best option as it offered the only opportunity to see the pandas. Most of those we spoke to agreed that, with the benefit of hindsight, this was indeed the preferred option as, leaving the Terracotta Army, Forbidden City and Great Wall until the end of the trip diminished any possible feeling of anti-climax. We were fortunate to have an excellent guide, Johanna, who gave us comprehensive background to life in China and an interesting perspective on the changes wrought over the past century. It must be pointed out that we believed we had struck lucky with Johanna but those in other groups were equally enthusiastic about their guides. The specialist city guides too were all of a high quality. The visits were well chosen and informative although those of us staying away from downtown Shanghai would have liked more time on the Bund rather than a cursory drive through. Enrichment activities were organised in several centres, some include, some optional. We enjoyed the evening entertainment in Shanghai and the playing of the ancient instruments in Wuhan. We skipped the circus and duck dinner in Beijing both of which received mixed reviews. We did opt for the afternoon trip to the Summer palace in Beijing and were well rewarded. The transition from land to sea was smoothly handled. Embarkation was swift and welcoming. Services on the Emerald were excellent, a nice touch being that by the end of the first evening the dining room and bar staff had learned our names. The food was uniformly fine with several options for each course in the evening and some interesting choices at lunchtimes for those who were feeling adventurous. We purchased the drinks package which for $150 per head allowed more choice of wine/beer as well as extra drinks outside of mealtimes. Those who did not do so pronounced the complimentary beer and wines perfectly acceptable. The sit as you please dining arrangement allowed us to converse with other guests with whom we would not otherwise have met. The passengers seemed to be split 50-50 in terms of Brits and Americans and we enjoyed some pleasant evenings. Having cruised with Americans in the past we were happy not to meet any who whinged about their taxes and/or tried to convince us that Obama was not an American and should never have been allowed to take his place in the White House. These were truly a different breed! Dining in the cities was usually in the 'Lazy Susan' style allowing the opportunity to sample a number of different dishes. This we enjoyed. Excursions from the boat were well chosen. These included a transfer to smaller boats to sail the Lesser Three Gorges and a visit to the spectacular Shibaozhai pagoda. Entertainment on the boat was limited but the crew put on a couple of shows to showcase their talents. In truth, there was not a lot to do by day except to sit and enjoy the scenery but several informative lectures were provided by the Cruise Director, Paul. Everyone with whom we spoke expressed surprise at the modernisation of China and the speed of progress. Many cities unknown in the west have populations of millions. The memories of vast urban developments, the rush to embrace all things western, and the hugely entertaining interpretation of traffic laws will live long. China is a rapidly changing country with a fascinating past. A visit is enormously rewarding and Viking River Cruises' Imperial Jewels trip offers a value for money introduction to China. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
Outstanding trip, but quite a bit of walking for us old folks, especially Tiananmen Square. The ship was beautiful, but the Yangtze was pretty dirty. We live on the Mississippi and it's clean by comparison. Though we didn't have ... Read More
Outstanding trip, but quite a bit of walking for us old folks, especially Tiananmen Square. The ship was beautiful, but the Yangtze was pretty dirty. We live on the Mississippi and it's clean by comparison. Though we didn't have any breathing problems, the air was pretty hazy at times which resulted in many poor quality pictures. The food on board and in the hotels were outstanding, but left a bit to be desired at the other places on out itinerary. Tofu seemed to be served everywhere and very little meat. Now that we have the far east out of the way, we probably wont be back to that part of the country, but have booked another river cruise with Viking in Europe. 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 4.4
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 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 4.5
Rates 4.0 4.2

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