We wanted to take an Asian cruise and decided on the Viking Roof of the World land/river cruise tour. It included 6 days on the Yangtze plus 10 days on land. The clinching part was the inclusion of 2.5 days in Tibet which none of the other river cruise lines offered. We landed in Beijing after a 14 hour flight and were met by the Viking representative who would be our tour guide for the entire trip and a better one we couldn't have had. We were fortunate to have gotten one that didn't parrot the party line and was even critical of some of the government practices - a breath of reality in an oppressive political climate.
Then we arrived at the first of four 5 star hotels we would stay at- the Fairmont Beijing. Walking in through a revolving door that had living plants as a center piece and that was activated by your presence was just a preface of the luxury that the hotel offered. The room was all that and more with an over king sized bed, plush robes and towels that would have wrapped up both my wife and myself. The staff was at our beck and call but that first day we were too tired to do more than get settled and go to dinner which, like all the meals, was a buffet style. We never ate more Chinese food in 16 days then we did on this trip.
The next 7 days included Bejing where we saw the Forbidden City, which was awesome and brought to life history that we had just read about like the whole trip did, and trekked to the Great Wall (be prepared for lots of climbing on that excursion and bring lots of water) Xian where the terra cotta soldiers are - far more impressive seeing them for real then any picture can do justice to - before arriving in Lhasa, Tibet. Upon landing we taxied past a line of Mig-23 fighter planes parked on the tarmac showing us why out flight there had been delayed over three hours. We saw the highest monastery in the world and were pleasantly surprised in not needing to use the oxygen provided in our rooms at the Shangri-La Lhasa (they did that because we were over 13,000 ft above sea level).
After leaving Tibet we flew to Chongquing where we boarded the Emerald for the trip down the Yangtze. Our cabin was fairly large for not being a suite and amply supplied with water and sodas all included in the trip. Dinners were open seating so we were able to sit with different people almost every night although we did form attachments and tended to search those people. The Viking trips are inclusive so all excursions are part of the trip and we were kept busy - almost too busy to shop although we did manage to find time to get some very nice items. For the most part DO NOT pay the posted price unless it is in a government store - bargaining is expected and enjoyed by the vendors. You will be looked on with contempt if you don't! I saved about 30% on some jewelry by bargaining so it works.
One of the highlights of the river part is the trip through the Three Gorges - magnificent scenery and we were fortunate to have clear if partly cloudy days for it. Words can't describe it just like they can't describe Alaskan scenery - you have to see it and try to capture the essence in photo's. We docked in Wuhan and flew to Singapore, spent 2 days there before making the long flight back home.
This was a long and tiring cruise/tour but one that we both enjoyed and look forward to visiting other regions in Asia.