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We decided to satiate our desire for something totally different by taking the Viking Imperial jewels of China cruise. We chose June because it was part of a birthday celebration. We arrive in Beijing two days earlier to acclimate to the time zone and to be able to see several things that we were wanting to see not included on the tour. We arranged a private tour guide for the first two days to take us to the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. We also chose to go to another section of the great wall called Mutianyu which we were able to take a sky ride up and take a toboggan ride down afterwards. The views were glorious. How her first day on the Viking tour, we met our fabulous guide Larry. The first day he took us to the Forbidden city and Tiananmen Square. It was quite a warm day with lots of concrete. The next day we return to the great wall at Badaling for another great view of the snaking walls. This site was much more crowded than Mutianyu but still comfortable. We also walked along the road of the Ming tombs, which is basically beautiful statues. Both days in Beijing were quite long and busy, and well worth it. We stayed at the JW Marriott Beijing Central. The rooms were nice and comfortable and the buffet was adequate. Would've appreciated a little more local food for dinner. We saw the kung fu show one evening which was highly entertaining and worthwhile. We like to cram our day full of activity because we know we will only be there once. We took in the Beijing duck dinner in here as well. It was good and met my expectations. The day we left for Xian, we spent in the Hutongs in the morning. It was a great look at local Chinese life. The rickshaw ride was fun. We did a tea tasting at the Bell tower afterwards before our flight. Viking does a great job of arranging flights and luggage. The only discomfort is going through security- expect a personal "massage" every time. Larry did a great job explaining every site we went with history and culture as well. We were fortunate that Larry had very clear English skills. Of course the terra-cotta warriors in Xian were magnificent. That was a bucket list day as well. A trip to the terra cotta warrior store was interesting, and included lunch. The Tang Dynasty show in the evening was interesting and the food was OK. The Sheraton in Xian was my least favorite hotel and the food was not very good in the hotel. We took the time to walk around a little bit of the city to get some local culture. We flew to Chongqing where the Viking River cruise begins. We were fortunate to take the early flight so we could take a tour through a historic community in Chongqing from hundreds of years ago. This was One of my favorite parts of our trip, we have a local guide who was adorable. Everyone on the crew ship was warm and friendly. The walk down to the ship was a little torturous, which could be difficult for someone who is not steady on their feet. We enjoyed our first day stopping at Shibazao temple. It is a tall 10 story red temple very interesting and you must cross the drunken bridge to get to it. This is a great place to shop and buy trinkets to take home. We felt sorry for the locals and did not bargain as much as we could have. We had a short two hour sampan ride at the goddess stream on our third day. This gave you a lot of free time on the ship. The next day we toured the three gorges dam site. They never actually take you to the dam but only up a hill to see the locks what you went through the night before, apparently for security reasons by the Chinese government. We were somewhat disappointed by this stop, not being able to see much of the dam itself. There is a little more shopping there as well but not much free time. This was a 2 hour tour as well and it did start to feel like we were spending too much time on the ship. I did enjoy an acupressure massage on the ship and some of the lectures were interesting. Our last stop was in Wuhan. We went to a nice museum and also saw the Hubei bells. The concert was lovely though short. We had free time in the afternoon and we chose to walk through a shopping area and through the park alongside the river. There is also a museum you can choose to go to as well. The next morning in Wuhan we stopped at a pagoda of some type did not get the name. I wanted to see the yellow Crane tower but apparently that is not on our Itinerary. Our bus broke down here as we were on our way to the airport. Larry and the guide were extremely efficient at solving this issue and we arrived in plenty of time for our flight which happened to be delayed as well due to rain in Shanghai. The air along the Yangtze River is quite foggy and smoggy can't tell which, so photography was not optimal. Most of our food on the ship was excellent, and the chef often visited every table to make sure everything was tasty and to let us know what was in store the next day. We were not disappointed. Shanghai was quite foggy as well with some rain. We took an awesome river cruise at night to see lights along the Huangpo river. This was another amazing sight watching the lights move across the buildings and flash. Lots of photo fun. The last day we went to Yuyuan gardens which was very lovely and Interesting. You might have 45 minutes to shop here if you are interested. We ended up at the Shanghai museum which was large. The historical Chinese furniture display was interesting. We ate at a tapestry and rug store for lunch. Many of the meals out during the trip were Lazy Susan lunches, some good and some marginal. Breakfast were usually at the hotel. We enjoyed the acrobatic show in Shanghai immensely. We spent one more day in Shanghai on our own, taking in the lovely Jade Buddha Temple. Viking arranged a trip to the airport for us and walked us through the foreign language check in. Thank you Viking! We met many wonderful people on the Viking tour and enjoyed being with the group for fourteen days which is different from Europe. Everyone seemed to be compatible and we felt we had an amazing guide. We would highly recommend this tour. Doing the heavy touring at the beginning in Beijing was a smart choice. Temperatures were warm and humid, but very tolerable. If I had more vacation time, I would have liked to see the pandas in Chengdu but any more intra china flying would have been over the edge. This trip is not for people unable to walk distances or with low stamina. There is so much to see in China and not enough time. I thoroughly enjoyed watching people in a different culture, and appreciating our own freedom.

Fabulous Trip Across the World in China

Viking Emerald Cruise Review by Bunnilover62

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We decided to satiate our desire for something totally different by taking the Viking Imperial jewels of China cruise. We chose June because it was part of a birthday celebration. We arrive in Beijing two days earlier to acclimate to the time zone and to be able to see several things that we were wanting to see not included on the tour. We arranged a private tour guide for the first two days to take us to the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. We also chose to go to another section of the great wall called Mutianyu which we were able to take a sky ride up and take a toboggan ride down afterwards. The views were glorious. How her first day on the Viking tour, we met our fabulous guide Larry. The first day he took us to the Forbidden city and Tiananmen Square. It was quite a warm day with lots of concrete. The next day we return to the great wall at Badaling for another great view of the snaking walls. This site was much more crowded than Mutianyu but still comfortable. We also walked along the road of the Ming tombs, which is basically beautiful statues. Both days in Beijing were quite long and busy, and well worth it. We stayed at the JW Marriott Beijing Central. The rooms were nice and comfortable and the buffet was adequate. Would've appreciated a little more local food for dinner. We saw the kung fu show one evening which was highly entertaining and worthwhile. We like to cram our day full of activity because we know we will only be there once. We took in the Beijing duck dinner in here as well. It was good and met my expectations.

The day we left for Xian, we spent in the Hutongs in the morning. It was a great look at local Chinese life. The rickshaw ride was fun. We did a tea tasting at the Bell tower afterwards before our flight. Viking does a great job of arranging flights and luggage. The only discomfort is going through security- expect a personal "massage" every time. Larry did a great job explaining every site we went with history and culture as well. We were fortunate that Larry had very clear English skills. Of course the terra-cotta warriors in Xian were magnificent. That was a bucket list day as well. A trip to the terra cotta warrior store was interesting, and included lunch. The Tang Dynasty show in the evening was interesting and the food was OK. The Sheraton in Xian was my least favorite hotel and the food was not very good in the hotel. We took the time to walk around a little bit of the city to get some local culture.

We flew to Chongqing where the Viking River cruise begins. We were fortunate to take the early flight so we could take a tour through a historic community in Chongqing from hundreds of years ago. This was One of my favorite parts of our trip, we have a local guide who was adorable. Everyone on the crew ship was warm and friendly. The walk down to the ship was a little torturous, which could be difficult for someone who is not steady on their feet. We enjoyed our first day stopping at Shibazao temple. It is a tall 10 story red temple very interesting and you must cross the drunken bridge to get to it. This is a great place to shop and buy trinkets to take home. We felt sorry for the locals and did not bargain as much as we could have. We had a short two hour sampan ride at the goddess stream on our third day. This gave you a lot of free time on the ship. The next day we toured the three gorges dam site. They never actually take you to the dam but only up a hill to see the locks what you went through the night before, apparently for security reasons by the Chinese government. We were somewhat disappointed by this stop, not being able to see much of the dam itself. There is a little more shopping there as well but not much free time. This was a 2 hour tour as well and it did start to feel like we were spending too much time on the ship. I did enjoy an acupressure massage on the ship and some of the lectures were interesting. Our last stop was in Wuhan. We went to a nice museum and also saw the Hubei bells. The concert was lovely though short. We had free time in the afternoon and we chose to walk through a shopping area and through the park alongside the river. There is also a museum you can choose to go to as well. The next morning in Wuhan we stopped at a pagoda of some type did not get the name. I wanted to see the yellow Crane tower but apparently that is not on our Itinerary. Our bus broke down here as we were on our way to the airport. Larry and the guide were extremely efficient at solving this issue and we arrived in plenty of time for our flight which happened to be delayed as well due to rain in Shanghai.

The air along the Yangtze River is quite foggy and smoggy can't tell which, so photography was not optimal. Most of our food on the ship was excellent, and the chef often visited every table to make sure everything was tasty and to let us know what was in store the next day. We were not disappointed. Shanghai was quite foggy as well with some rain. We took an awesome river cruise at night to see lights along the Huangpo river. This was another amazing sight watching the lights move across the buildings and flash. Lots of photo fun. The last day we went to Yuyuan gardens which was very lovely and Interesting. You might have 45 minutes to shop here if you are interested. We ended up at the Shanghai museum which was large. The historical Chinese furniture display was interesting. We ate at a tapestry and rug store for lunch. Many of the meals out during the trip were Lazy Susan lunches, some good and some marginal. Breakfast were usually at the hotel. We enjoyed the acrobatic show in Shanghai immensely. We spent one more day in Shanghai on our own, taking in the lovely Jade Buddha Temple. Viking arranged a trip to the airport for us and walked us through the foreign language check in. Thank you Viking! We met many wonderful people on the Viking tour and enjoyed being with the group for fourteen days which is different from Europe. Everyone seemed to be compatible and we felt we had an amazing guide. We would highly recommend this tour. Doing the heavy touring at the beginning in Beijing was a smart choice. Temperatures were warm and humid, but very tolerable. If I had more vacation time, I would have liked to see the pandas in Chengdu but any more intra china flying would have been over the edge. This trip is not for people unable to walk distances or with low stamina. There is so much to see in China and not enough time. I thoroughly enjoyed watching people in a different culture, and appreciating our own freedom.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 427
Cabin was comfortable but musty. Needed a dehumidifier which we asked for. What a difference. Should be standard in every room. Bathrooms are older and not as luxurious. As some might expect. cruise staff are impeccable. Entertainment is what you expect on a small ship. Our flights were nicely timed but with the discomfort that coach provides. Nevertheless, I am sure this is the best cruise on the Yangtze River.