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 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.
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.