This is an EXTREMELY long report; I don’ seem to be able to anything halfway. Please read it knowing that we are NOT tour people. We don’t like regimentation and we surely do not want to get up at 5am every day of our “vacation”. I have years of experience planning and managing events, and I am quite persnickety. We’ve done many cruise-tours with Grand Circle and Avalon. They have been great, with excellent Tour Escorts. We were expecting “even better” with Viking, and we paid top dollar for this trip. So, out of ignorance, I may be critical of things that are taken for granted on a complex cruise-tour of China. This Trip Report contains mostly my opinions; my husband isn’t quite so critical, but I don’t know what will ever get him on another Viking trip.
Before leaving Emerald, we were given two surveys, maybe one for the cruise and one for the overall trip, we were not sure. I never did know which was which, so I didn’t complete either. I have used those surveys as a template for this report. Not being able to figure out the two surveys rather sums up our experience with Viking’s Jewels cruise-tour of China, which departed Beijing on November 2, 2019. We expected a seamless experience but were very disappointed with the lack of attention to detail.
I’d rate the Emerald a 10, the cruise 8 of 10 and the tour 4 of 10. Overall experience a 5. We have an excellent Travel Agent cruise expert, so no issues booking or managing trip. We found the trip poorly planned, we spent far too much time in places that deserved about ten minutes, we were force-marched out at 8am or earlier for days on end. Some of us flew 15 hours to China and spent 4 hours in traffic getting into Beijing from the airport. Many pax spent far more time than that to get to Beijing.