19 Viking River Viking Emerald Family Cruise Reviews

My 90 year old mother chose this trip after taking Prague to Paris with the grandaughters. Its was wonderful. After reading the reviews, I was concerned about the physical aspects of the trip & reviewers discussing the difficulty of ... Read More
My 90 year old mother chose this trip after taking Prague to Paris with the grandaughters. Its was wonderful. After reading the reviews, I was concerned about the physical aspects of the trip & reviewers discussing the difficulty of the terrain & lack of access to those with disabilities. Keep in mind my mother walks at least a mile a day, rides an exercise bike regularly. She’s pretty salty for 90. To be safe, I contacted the travel agent 2x- who reassured me that this trip would not be a problem. Wrong, Wrong. So wrong. While this trip provided an excellent array of excursions to showcase China’s history, art, museum exhibits - that doesn’t help you if you can’t get there to see them. Our group’s guide James, who was a wealth of information- did his best to make arrangements for mom at the disembarkment spots but it was still too much. The stairs at every port were unbelievable- usually at least 90- so double that for the return trip. Add to that the heat & humidity in late June - brutal. All the Viking staff on shore & the ship were fabulous- courteous, knowledgeable, friendly- but apparently our travel agent dropped the ball. My mom was unable to enjoy several excursions( the ones she really wanted to see- the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, the Temple) due to exhaustion and knee & hip pain. There were other much younger cruisers who were grumbling about “boot camp” throughout the tour. Just make sure you are in decent shape and stay hydrated. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
A wonderful experience. Knowledgeable tour guides, personal attention and excellent hotels. We were placed in tours with our family grounof 6. Service was excellent. River cruise on Yangtze Rivervwas excellent. Staff was always courteous ... Read More
A wonderful experience. Knowledgeable tour guides, personal attention and excellent hotels. We were placed in tours with our family grounof 6. Service was excellent. River cruise on Yangtze Rivervwas excellent. Staff was always courteous and helpful. We were taken to excellent restaurants and food was outstanding.. Tour guide Johanna gave informative talks about the culture. We saw a great deal of highlights in many cities including the Great Wall, Tianeman Square, Terra Cota burial site and Forbidden city. We have great memories of this fabulous trip. On board entertainment was great and the excursions were very well organized. An unforgettable experience. Transfers were well organized. The food on board was outstanding and very delicious. Truly a very nice trip. Loved the planning and organizing. Staff was courteous and friendly. Air travel was more than adequate and timely. My husband and I were thoroughly satisfied with Viking and it’s staff. Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to visit China. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
While we had twice been to Beijing on business, and had done some sightseeing while there, this was our first trip to China for the purposes of travel only. The entire program was under the direction of Viking Cruises and they more than ... Read More
While we had twice been to Beijing on business, and had done some sightseeing while there, this was our first trip to China for the purposes of travel only. The entire program was under the direction of Viking Cruises and they more than exceeded their reputation for excellence. There were several groups of travelers in the itinerary, none larger than 30 persons, each with a tour guide. Our guide, Richard, was above every expectation in all respects. The hotels were all excellent, and one, the Four Seasons in Shanghai, was one of the best in which we have ever stayed. The well thought out programs were somewhat strenuous, but we all managed to keep up. There were three nights in Beijing, two nights in Xian, which included a viewing to the Terracotta Warriors, three nights in Lhasa, and then, after a flight to Chongqing, five nights on the Viking Emerald with interesting tours at every port on the Yangtze river. Finally, we spent two nights in Shanghai. As an example of thoughtful planning on Richard's part, we were taken to the superb Shanghai museum on arrival in Shanghai rather than squeezing in a visit in an already crowded schedule the following day. This is not a cruise for the fainthearted, but if one is willing to make the effort and try the different foods, it is a great trip. incidentally, the ship is leased, not owned by Viking, and it is very good, but not as good as if they were to have built, owned and maintained the vessel. That is prohibited by the government because of the use of the Yangtze as a major commercial artery in China. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We wanted to see China and this trip was the perfect mix of land/water. The highlight for my husband was the Terracota Warriors and for me was sailing down the river looking at the scenery of the gorges. Just magnificent. All the ... Read More
We wanted to see China and this trip was the perfect mix of land/water. The highlight for my husband was the Terracota Warriors and for me was sailing down the river looking at the scenery of the gorges. Just magnificent. All the accomodations were top notch and we felt very well taken care of in every aspect of our journey. Our guide, Arnold, was just the best in terms of his knowledge and his leadership abilities. He made everyone feel welcome and that no question was too silly for him to answer. It was a plus that his photography skills are fantastic and we have some beautiful pictures from our trip that we will cherish. We met very interesting people and are looking forward to sailing with Viking on another trip in the future. Thank you for everything your company did to make our trip so successful. We will always remember my husband's 65th birthday. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We loved this trip from start to finish. When we arrived in Beijing we were met by the tour guide and quickly on our way to the hotel. They were with us all of the way to the last stop. All of the hotels were unbelievable and the check ... Read More
We loved this trip from start to finish. When we arrived in Beijing we were met by the tour guide and quickly on our way to the hotel. They were with us all of the way to the last stop. All of the hotels were unbelievable and the check in was so easy. It was nice to not have to worry about luggage etc. and always quickly get to our room. Our tour guide (Geo) was very knowledgeable about where we were and what we were doing. He was willing to share history of the area and answer questions (even if they were already asked before). The flights in country were also easily accessed. The trip to the Great Wall was awesome. It was such a beautiful view from the wall and so astounding that it was built so long ago. In Xian the terracotta solders were breathtaking and so amazing. When we got to the ship it was so easy again to board. The cabin was great and the view from the ship was spectacular. All of the staff on board were helpful and very friendly. When going through the gorges it was so beautiful. The food on the ship was outstanding. Always something new to try, but plenty of things you were use to as well. There was always something to do if you wanted on the ship. The stops on the way were great. In Shanghai the trip to the museum was very informational. During the trip all of the planned port and shore excursions were well planned and very enjoyable. The food was great and always something new to try in the hotels, cities and on the ship. I would definitely go again but would make sure I got to see the pandas and some of the large Budda. That was the only disappointment on the trip other than it ending and having to come back home. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We enjoyed the whole trip, The tour guide was excellent. He did an outstanding job. Very knowledgeable, accommodating to your needs, nice and pleasant to be with. The places that we visited were all wonderful to see. Very educational ... Read More
We enjoyed the whole trip, The tour guide was excellent. He did an outstanding job. Very knowledgeable, accommodating to your needs, nice and pleasant to be with. The places that we visited were all wonderful to see. Very educational and lots of history that one can do a second visit and learn more about the culture and people. All the hotels we stayed in were first class. Food and service were excellent. The land tours were also awesome. The Three Gorges was a beautiful sight to see and see how the village people who were relocated high in the mountains live. They walk for miles on the rugged mountain slopes to get to their destinations. This is a daily life for them. I thought their way of life is so incredible. Note: When you are a first time booker, I recommend that the travel person who helps you set up your tour should guide you of what to expect in the tour package. Because I booked the tour 9 months in advance, when it came closer to the cruise date, I didn't look at the email as often as I should and missed a lot of valuable information about what you should do (example- you have to do your own set up of the land tours of which one that you want to attend - it was not automatic). The travel person you initial helped you should follow up and help you and guide you on these land tours. Each time I called, I got a different person to help me. Most of them were curious and nice but I truly think the original person who helped with the initial booking should be your guide. David you was the initial person was never there when I called. When I left messages, he sometimes called back in the beginning of the initial booking but after that when I left a message, he never called back. I talked to several people that help me set up the land portion of the cruise. I was very grateful that one person, forgot name was the best who helped me do an automatic checking on the website about the cruise. That is my only complaint I have about the initial travel booker that book our cruise. Other than that I would recommend Viking to everyone. In fact, I called several people to make sure to use Viking on their next cruise. I would recommend everyone to choose Viking for their travel. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Actually the cruise is from Chongqing,China to Wuhan but because I lost my passport at our transfer port of Hong Kong from San Francisco, we never got to Beijing.Instead we were on our own in Hong Kong.We are eternally grateful for Viking ... Read More
Actually the cruise is from Chongqing,China to Wuhan but because I lost my passport at our transfer port of Hong Kong from San Francisco, we never got to Beijing.Instead we were on our own in Hong Kong.We are eternally grateful for Viking in helping us go through the bureaucratic tangle of getting out of Hong Kong,Viking moved mountains to help us and Cathay Airline,our carrier, also helped us tremendously.The US Embassy really did a great job but because we arrived on Friday,we couldn't leave Hong Kong till Monday.We enjoyed Hong Kong and met up with the Viking Tour at Xian.There we toured the Terra Cotta Museum with Paul, the local guide.His knowledge of Xian was most impressive.Our main tour guide for Viking was Bob for the remainder of the trip and he was extraordinary. The ship was great and the staff provided great service,was hardworking and very polite.Wilhelm,the ship's hotel manager was a kick and Ben,the program director, was most informative.My son and wife participated in some of the ship's activities.i was more introspective and just enjoyed the scenery,marveled at the resiliency of the common person,and concerned about the people's over dependence on the 3 gorges dam in controlling the flooding at Wuhan,We were impressed by all the buildings when we got to Shanghai and I marveled at how far China has advanced materially for a nation that was formed in 1949.The land tours had to be some what rushed because there was a lot to see and there were crowds of people but Bob didn't lose anybody.Would I go back?Yes but I would go to fewer places and walk more with the people even though I don't speak Mandarin.Cruises are meant more as an introduction.Now that we are back in the states, we have to do battle with the insurance company to get reimbursed for our expenses in Hong Kong so if you go on this trip,DON'T LOSE YOUR PASSPORT and if you go on this tour,do not put in long hours of work prior to departure cause it's a long plane ride which may leave after midnight. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
The cruise went to excellent ports, the tours were very informative and Arnold our tour guide throughout the cruise was excellent. He was very knowledgeable The junior suite was a good size. The food was good and the people that worked ... Read More
The cruise went to excellent ports, the tours were very informative and Arnold our tour guide throughout the cruise was excellent. He was very knowledgeable The junior suite was a good size. The food was good and the people that worked on the ship were very attentive. Everything was well organized and I would recommend this cruise to everyone including the extension to Hong Kong, China is a spectacular country and if I could I would return but I would rather explore other countries. The weather in March was neither cold nor hot just perfect. It was a wonderful experience. The entertainment on ship and the bartenders were great, The people in China are very friendly and respectful. We are going to take another Viking cruise in March. I also recommend the Prague to Budapest Viking cruise it was spectacular. Overal, The cruise met all our expectations and we had a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This cruise was part of a 17 day tour, called Cultural Delights of China. We travelled up the Yangze River, stopping at cities and towns along the way. At each stop we had a tour. I have been on a Viking cruise in Europe, and this ... Read More
This cruise was part of a 17 day tour, called Cultural Delights of China. We travelled up the Yangze River, stopping at cities and towns along the way. At each stop we had a tour. I have been on a Viking cruise in Europe, and this cruise is different, partly because the ship is not a Viking ship, but owned by a Chinese company. 98% of the staff is Chinese, some with good English, some with passable English. Our tour began in Shanghai and ended in Beijing. We had a tour guide who travelled with us all of the way, and accompanied us on every tour. He was excellent and provided continuity for the entire trip. Because this is a river cruise, there are very few activities, compared to larger ocean cruise ships. However, is allowed us to see parts of China that many visitors never see. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This trip was well worth the money and effort. Having in mind before we left that China would be a whole new and different experience from that we had done before our expectations were met. The Hotel accommodation in Shanghai was excellent ... Read More
This trip was well worth the money and effort. Having in mind before we left that China would be a whole new and different experience from that we had done before our expectations were met. The Hotel accommodation in Shanghai was excellent as were the Xi'an and Beijing Hotels. The river cruise took a while to get started. The first two days were slow but the excursion to the school was excellent. The children are an absolute pleasure and as it was school holidays full marks to them for turning out and entertaining us. The trips through the gorges lived up to expectations as did the visit to see the Pandas and what was the crowning glory of the hoilday for me, the Terracotta Warriers. Then we arrived in Beijing to visit the Wall and the Forbidden City. Timing at these venues was bad. The Wall visit in my mind was not at all enjoyable because of the huge crowds. This wasn't at the advertised site where we were told there was a walk of about a mile, but at a Cable Car site where everybody chose to go including thousands of Chinese tourists. It was estimated that some 200,000 would visit during the day. Our time on the wall was spent clinging for dear life to the hand rails as the wall was so steep and crowded. It was impossible to soak up the moment. The visit to the Forbidden City also was extremely crowded but that is expected and we managed a reasonable visit. One of my complaints to Viking is the lack of knowledge regarding Chinese internal flights, baggage regulations. I am an amateur photographer and this trip for me was to be a photographic extraganzer. On enquiring to Viking before we left we asked about the internal flight baggage rules. We were told that check-in was 20kgs and carry-on was 5kg ONE ITEM ONLY, which would have to include any cameras or handbags etc. This resulted in me only taking one camera with no backup. Yes you guessed it, my camera failed two days in!! On enquiring in China regarding the carry-on rules I was told that you could take on what you like within reason which meant I could have taken my full camera kit. The Chinese lady simply said next time ask a Chinese Viking person. In conclusion its full on, with six flights, three hotels plus the boat and early starts but it was still a good holiday and one I would recommend but Viking need to do their homework on some very obviouse needs of the trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our maiden voyage with Viking River Cruises and our experience was far above as we expected. We took the one of the only two Explorer Suites of Viking Emerald Ship and were treated royally. Our son had his own stateroom which ... Read More
This was our maiden voyage with Viking River Cruises and our experience was far above as we expected. We took the one of the only two Explorer Suites of Viking Emerald Ship and were treated royally. Our son had his own stateroom which was a few rooms from us. Our fellow travelers in our group were all terrific, our tour guide Ray was the best, very knowledgeable and extremely professional while displaying his sense of humor. We were so glad that we took the Beijing to Shanghai route since going downstream the Yangtze River is much better. I highly recommend this trip to the world class travelers to complete your bucket list! Definitely a TRIP OF A LIFETIME! I mean how many people you know could say, "I have conquered The Great Wall"? Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
As mentioned in other reviews, the on board staff couldn't have been more pleasant and efficient. The ship itself appeared to be in decent condition, and was never too loud when running. If your idea of a great vacation is ... Read More
As mentioned in other reviews, the on board staff couldn't have been more pleasant and efficient. The ship itself appeared to be in decent condition, and was never too loud when running. If your idea of a great vacation is spending 5 days of with very little physical activity, this might be the cruise for you. I am not a cruise fan, so maybe all cruises are like this. Told my wife I would NEVER go on a cruise, but this is what she wanted to do for her 50th birthday. Check and mate. For the people whose dream vacation consists of spending all but a few minutes a day sitting and eating, sitting and drinking or sitting and reading or sitting and playing board games or sitting and listening to a lecture (Basic Mandarin phrases, playing Mah Jongg or fun facts about the Yangtze River,) or laying in bed watching one of 5 television channels, this is the dream vacation for you. The other few minutes a day are spent going up or down the stairs to one of the aforementioned events. We were able to get off the boat on 3 of the 5 days: once to walk through the edge of a small city towards a temple while dodging a 4 block long gauntlet of aggressive local merchants who see American tourists as walking dollar bills, once to walk a few hundred feet to another tour boat where you sit for another hour and a half going through scenery, and the last time to finally do a little walking (after still more sitting on a bus ride) on the way up to the 3 Gorges Dam. The web page for this crew mentions a 'gym.' I called Viking to verify that the boat had a 'gym' before we left for the cruise. Only a few of us actually used those facilities, so for most people taking this cruise, the quality and condition of those facilities won't matter. The 'gym' had an erg that hadn't been lubricated since Nixon was president, a treadmill, an elliptical machine on which the display screen was non-functional and had a squeak so loud that it could be heard throughout the boat, and a small set of dumbbells, most of which were not marked with a weight. Nevertheless, the 'gym' provided virtually the only activity that didn't involve more sitting. The fore and aft outside decks provided sufficient chairs for yet more sitting and scenery consumption, but when you travel over 1,000 miles on any road or river, there are many extended periods of monotonous doldrums. This trip is certainly no exception. I would recommend taking the cruise during July or August, when you can enjoy the scenery when daytime temps are mostly in the upper 90's (mid-30's C,) the humidity is stratospheric and the air quality truly indescribable. At night, the temps MAY drop down under 80 (about 26C,) but then the humidity will be near 100%. You can't be that for a comfortable night's sleep!! I witnessed several American cities in the 60's before anti-pollution laws were enacted, but I have never seen air quality like we experienced in most of China. I thought the atrocious air quality might last for a day or so due to some unusual atmospheric condition, but the air quality only deteriorated the farther inland we went. Several of us developed sore throats and random coughing fits. A week after getting back home, I was still coughing up remnants of Chinese air from my lungs. Truly something one needs to experience first hand. The food on board was plentiful, but there are no snack bars & no in-between-meal offerings other than alcohol. The cooking staff was from China, and they did an admiral job preparing Western food. Unfortunately, they have mastered the art of making the food 'look' pretty long before they mastered taste. As there were cruisers from several parts of the U.S. and the world, it would be extremely difficult to please everyone with the small kitchen available on the river cruise its ship. My wife and nephew are Chinese, and they tell me that the crew did a respectable job with some Chinese breakfast items. For the most part, the food was acceptable, but that's about as far as one could stretch the description. You''ll get your steak they way they cook it, so don't bother with asking for RARE or MEDIUM WELL or WELL DONE. On the whole, the cruise staff made up for some of the cruise's shortcomings, so thank God for that. If you won't go completely stir crazy spending 95% of your day sitting on what amounts to a 'prison' ship, you'll love this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I might mention that the air part of the trip was terrible (and scheduled by Viking) . Not booked directly to Shanghai (where tour began) but through Beijing. And not enought time to make connection. Missed flight, etc. The breakfast ... Read More
I might mention that the air part of the trip was terrible (and scheduled by Viking) . Not booked directly to Shanghai (where tour began) but through Beijing. And not enought time to make connection. Missed flight, etc. The breakfast buffets on the ship were outstanding (as were those in the hotels). The lunches and dinners were fine, but nothing outstanding. I think the ship was ok for what it was. However, there wasn't a lot to see and the scenery got a little boring since they had damned up the river. I actually enjoyed Shanghai, Xian, and Beijing and I am recommending that one skip the cruise. I would have enjoyed seeing more of the sights in Beijing, but there wasn't enough time scheduled since we spent 5 days on the Yangtze. The tours were very well organized and provided safe food and we felt comfortable where we went. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
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
Sail Date October 2014
If you are contemplating booking this cruise, I would recommend starting in Beijing and doing all the strenuous part of the tour first. Firstly the tour does involve lots of walking and steps, so it is not recommended for people with ... Read More
If you are contemplating booking this cruise, I would recommend starting in Beijing and doing all the strenuous part of the tour first. Firstly the tour does involve lots of walking and steps, so it is not recommended for people with mobility issues. Our tour guide David was excellent, and kept us fully informed of timings and meeting places, and he kept us amused with tales of his childhood experiences and day to day life in China which was extremely interesting, It was also great not to have to worry about lifting heavy suitcases everywhere, as Viking took great care of coordinating and checking in our luggage, so all we had to do was identify it after each internal flight, and it was promptly delivered to our respective hotels. The land tours were well coordinated, taking in Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and Great Wall. For me, the highlight of the trip was flying to Xian to see the Terracotta Warriors. All the hotels we stayed in were equivalent to 4/5 star and of a very high standard. The Kerry Hotel in Beijing had a complimentary mini bar which was stocked daily with beers and soft drinks, and the bathroom was very opulent. The food in all the hotels was buffet style and very good quality and choice. The cabins on the Viking Emerald are spacious, and with a balcony, but unfortunately the river was shrouded in mist/fog and smog which is apparently normal, and the guide in Chonquing told us that they only have about 5 days of sun each , so needless to say, most of the time it was like looking through lace curtains, which was quite disappointing. The trip wasn't very relaxing, as Viking do not plan too much down time, and personally I think they include too many trips to museums. I Think it would be preferential to offer alternatives, if you do not want to go to another museum. The latest time we woke up was 0700, which is very early day in day out, but I guess that we had to avoid the constant queues of traffic, and also to avoid the queues at the other places we were visiting. I did feel at times that we were being 'herded', but with 34 people in the group, this is the only option. The food on the boat was excellent with lots of choices, and wine is included at lunch and dinner, but although the staff are extremely pleasant, they need a few lessons in customer service. I found that we had to keep asking for basic things like condiments, which should automatically be placed on each dining table, and they weren't always proactive in topping up wine glasses. We constantly had to ask for more wine. There was an excellent wine waitress called Lois, who was incredible with attending to us, and she even remembered everyone's name, even though we constantly changed tables. It was always reassuring when Lois was waiting on our table at meal times. She was also extremely polite and personable. I also need to mention that when not eating in hotels, Viking had arranged meals in different restaurants which were obviously geared up for tourists, as there were always numerous coaches parked outside, and all tables were filled with groups of 8. All of these meals were served by using lazy susans, and the food was just 'plonked' on the table. We were only entitled to 1 drink which seemed a bit mean, so if you dared ask for a glass of water with your beer, it was promptly refused! In all the restaurants, the staff are constantly trying to remove your plate, even though you could still be eating! It all seemed very rushed, and that part was not very pleasurable. Most times we were in and out within 1 hour. All in all it was a very enjoyable holiday with some amazing sights, but would I do it again-probably no. It ticked all the boxes of places to see, and I can't fault Viking for that.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Subject: Viking Cruise, China Nov 1-18, 2013 – Tour Guide-Arnold Zheng We experienced 18 amazing days in China! My sister-in-law and I decided to take a Viking Cruise to China. I love travel and have been on over 25 cruises with various ... Read More
Subject: Viking Cruise, China Nov 1-18, 2013 – Tour Guide-Arnold Zheng We experienced 18 amazing days in China! My sister-in-law and I decided to take a Viking Cruise to China. I love travel and have been on over 25 cruises with various cruise lines in the states and in Europe, so I was anxious to try a river cruise. Growing up in St Louis, on the Mississippi River, I was interested in travelling down the Yangtze River. I had absolutely no idea that this trip would be the very best I had ever experienced in all my travels. It was a trip of a lifetime! In retrospect, the credit for such a fantastic experience should go to Arnold, our amazing guide. Arnold set the tone for tours and his professionalism, sense of humor, incredible knowledge of history and love of his country and family, and his genuine kindness and concern for all of us, made this an exceptional time in China. His English is superb, and his openness and willingness to share stories and his knowledge gave us all a new perspective of Chinese culture. Arnold is certainly a premier tour guide and a genuinely wonderful person who cares about the people who are touring with him. He went above and beyond to ensure that everyone’s needs were met. There wasn’t a situation that he couldn’t handle and did so with kindness and professionalism. Every tour, hotel arrangements, schedule was handled perfectly. Arnold always prepared us for what we would see and do, and he gave us the comfort level in travel that is rarely experienced. Everything was so well planned; and we were very well taken care of during our stay. He showed ultimate respect for all of us, and I have the highest respect for Arnold and his professionalism. It isn’t easy to be away from family for extended periods of time, but it is evident he loves his family and is devoted to them and to his career. Arnold has a great perspective on life; and he is a wonderful ambassador for not only Viking Cruise Lines, but his country, China. The people on the boat were very well travelled. While we docked in some "interesting" places with lots of stairs and ramps that were definitely not the Caribbean docks and ports, everyone seemed to just go with the flow and experience the culture. Stairs were many with few hand rails, but we were always well prepared for the day by our tour guide. Food on the boat was very good and yogurt superb! Chinese local restaurants were very nice, if you like Chinese food. The Peking Duck was wonderful! Optional tours were definitely worth the time and money. Tours were filled with outstanding local guides and a wealth of information. Always plenty of time to shop or take pictures. We left with wonderful memories, great pictures, new friends, and we will definitely book another Viking Cruise in 2014. Hopefully we will experience more “Arnolds” in other countries. It was one fantastic trip!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Our total trip, land + river, was 12 days. A viking representative met us at the airport in Shanghai and from that point on we were superbly cared for until a Viking rep dropped us at the airport in Beijing. The attention to detail, the ... Read More
Our total trip, land + river, was 12 days. A viking representative met us at the airport in Shanghai and from that point on we were superbly cared for until a Viking rep dropped us at the airport in Beijing. The attention to detail, the very personal care, the knowledge of our guide, the friendships we made - all exceptional. Quality 5 Star hotels, no cuing in lines for tourist sites, spectacular World Heritage tours. The Viking ship, Emerald, was good - not great....it's a little tired and could use some updating, but again the service of the Viking employees was exceptional. Breakfast and lunch buffet were excellent, but chef could use a course in preparation of western cuisine. When local fare was prepared, it was wonderful, but the kitchen struggled a bit with anything out of their traditional comfort zone (Chilean Sea Bass cooked till dry as wood chips) And cookies! How difficult would it be to offer a simple Toll House Chocolate Chip instead of dried compressed sawdust. But if those are the only two things that weren't up to par they were more than compensated for by the overall excellence of our experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
My son (25) and I (58) took the July 9, 2013 Shanghai-Beijing "Imperial Jewels of China" 12-day tour, which included 5 nights on the Yangtze River going upriver. It was a trip of a lifetime. As an American, the cultural ... Read More
My son (25) and I (58) took the July 9, 2013 Shanghai-Beijing "Imperial Jewels of China" 12-day tour, which included 5 nights on the Yangtze River going upriver. It was a trip of a lifetime. As an American, the cultural differences between China and Northeast US where we live cannot be overstated. China, for the most part, is still a third-world country in many aspects. It's clear that this country only opened itself to the world in recent decades. The Chinese culture has a very strong history which is still unchanged by other cultures due to their centuries of self-seclusion. Celebrated in music, in theatre, in daily living, every day on this trip introduced my son and I to new outlooks, new foods, new scenery, new ideas and traditions, and new friends. We were able to see the truly amazing natural sites like the historic Yangtze River/extensive and awe-inspiring gorges and Chongqing's giant pandas, plus ancient and extraordinary man-made artifacts such as a buried enormous set of Chinese Bells, jade, Oriental rugs and rug-making, the Terra-Cotta Warriors, the Great Wall, the new largest-in-the-world (Three Gorges) Dam/5-lock system, which changed the face of that part of the world with the rising river water it produced, Shanghai's cosmopolitan modern city and Beijing's historic Tiananman Square and the Forbidden City. And more. The ship was lovely, the food was great, if sometimes experimental (the Chinese really do eat everything), and there were artisans onboard who could create you Chinese clothing made-to-order, beautiful Chinese paintings and painted articles, tea sets and Chinese tea culture, Chinese dancing and traditional costumes of various dynasties. You could also receive an introduction to Tai Chi or receive Chinese massage, pedicure or other delights. Daytrips were mostly covered financially as part of the tour price with only 3 charged extras, all of which we experienced, including two dinner-theatre events (Tang Dynasty and Peking Opera), and a traditional Peking Duck dinner. The boat is small, only accommodating some 240, which split into groups of approximately 30, each led by a Chinese tour guide, which traveled on individual buses for the land portions of the tour. Although ship cabins are always challenging in size if one doesn't have a huge budget, I found the shower to be larger than expected and the bathroom fairly spacious. The interior 270-sq-ft space was nicely fitted, with unanticipated added "comes-with-the-room" features like an umbrella and robe. Loved the veranda as well. In a very hot climate as the Yangtze river areas were, it was a pleasure to be able to sit in a private space to enjoy the view, or to, as we did, rig up a clothes-line system (we brought clothes line and pins) so we had a place to dry laundry, which we washed by hand on-board several times. This was allowed since it's a very common thing in China to hang your laundry; almost no one uses a clothes dryer anywhere, there. Definitely a good decision on the part of Viking to allow everyone to have a veranda. I was dismayed, on the next-to-last day of the tour when we were at the Great Wall, when I inadvertently took a wrong turn when trying to return to our meeting place and found myself far, far away from where I was supposed to be. Although I missed getting back to my meeting place in time and my bus returned without me on the 50-minute ride back to Beijing, this extremely frightening experience (I had no Chinese language and the people where I found myself had little to no English skills) cost me a taxi-ride back to where I was supposed to get to, where I found out for the first time I had been "stranded" by my bus at the Great Wall, Viking River Tours already had anticipated such innocent mistakes as mine, and because I was wearing a name tag with a Chinese character on it telling the Chinese who I was with and therefore where I was supposed to meet, and because that same name tag had the phone number of my bus's Chinese (Viking) travel guide, I was rescued by Viking. In fact, the company even paid for my second taxi...the 50-minute one back to Beijing to the luncheon spot where the rest of my group had gone ahead of me. So, two things about that....they rescued me and took care of/paid for my rescue....and they didn't hold everyone else up while my rescue was happening. Although I was terrified at the time, I was actually under good care (which no one could share because of the language barrier) and was safe all the while, due to Viking's efficiency and management of their tour spots. Because of this rescue and the Viking's overseeing my well-being, my son and I have decided to go on the Viking Oceans 15-day "Viking Homelands" tour on their new 2015 Ocean cruiser, the Viking Star. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
My wife and I had been interested in China from a social, economic, and tourist perspective for many years, but did not visit due to concerns about the language barrier, governmental issues, and quality of services. We are in our 50s and ... Read More
My wife and I had been interested in China from a social, economic, and tourist perspective for many years, but did not visit due to concerns about the language barrier, governmental issues, and quality of services. We are in our 50s and 60s, and have extensively travelled, but none of our previous travels prepared us for the reality and wonderful experiences of China on our Viking River Cruise. We began our journey in Shanghai, and arrived a few days early to see the city and surrounding areas. The Pu-dong Hilton's concierge arranged a car to retrieve us from the airport, checked us in at our room, and helped with other trips. The Hilton's people provided excellent service, and wonderful food and lodging. Shanghai was a reality check for us, since it is such a major city with high-end shopping and modern buildings juxtaposed with the old Shanghai and Bund area. The architecture was beautiful in both areas and blended the old and new China. A new "Luxury" temple with huge wooden beams and precious metals was under construction in the middle of Shanghai, while the old temple was on a side street, albeit well visited and filled with the aroma of incense, and both well worth the trip. One thing we anticipated, and quickly realized, is that in many places including rural areas, bathrooms may not be to the same standard as the US, so it is worthwhile to have a supply of packaged wipes. For transportation, we would ride a taxi or bus to reduce travel time for longer trips, and then walk for hours. We received cautions about watching for pick pockets, but did not experience any issues. We could move around the city for just a few dollars equivalent. Language was not an issue with transportation, except taxis, and concierge and door men handled this by giving us cards to provide instructions for the return trip to taxi drivers. Buses required coins to ride. The Pu-dong area is a high-end part of Shanghai. Fashion appeared to be very important for women and to a lesser extent men. We visited a high rise mega-mall filled with shoppers of all ages, but mostly female, laden with bags of their purchases from luxury stores. I just wanted a new set of sandals, and it was an easy purchase. I identified the style and multiple sales people (all young women) measured my feet, paid with a credit card, and then returned to the sales desk to retrieve my sandals. The sales people were very friendly, and we can truly say that everyone we met in China was friendly and helpful to us at all times. We transferred to the Shanghai Shangri-La hotel to meet our Viking River Cruise tour group. Viking utilized excellent hotels throughout our journey, and the Shangri-La brand hotels we experienced in Shanghai, Guilin, and Hong Kong were the best. We applied for the Shangri-La loyalty program, since it allowed us to obtain cash at a lower cost than ATMs. Be sure to take advantage of breakfast at the Shangri-La (especially Shanghai); it is a culinary adventure. In addition, meals were a fun event that provided an opportunity to meet new people and enjoy different foods. Most of the lunches and dinners on shore were served lazy susan (family style) while others were buffet style. This provided an excellent opportunity to taste the food, if not familiar, and eat more of what you like. Also, all meals were casual, so no suits or ties needed, although the Beijing Opera was smart casual. At the first night meeting, we received an assignment with Francis Yang as our tour guide. Mr. Yang led the group that was going on to Guilin and Hong Kong after departing Beijing. Mr. Yang took good care of us at all times and made our journey, easy, pleasant, and safe. Mr. Yang anticipated our needs, and was the best tour guide we have experienced in our travels. We still occasionally communicate via email. We will forever be "Francis Group" and move on with a wave of the raised Viking pennant. We toured Shanghai as a group seeing silk and carpet factories, museums, acrobats, and more, and then flew to Wuhan to board the Viking Emerald to begin our journey on the Yangtze. Mr. Yang provided our airline tickets, handled all of the luggage arrangements, and escorted us through airport security with ease, and made sure everyone arrived in good shape. We learned about the Viking shopping guarantee for purchased items, and it was true because the merchant replaced an item at no cost after we received it in damaged condition. The Viking Emerald was a modern and extremely clean ship. We had a stateroom with veranda that provided us with views ranging from tranquil scenery, cities, and factories, to an occasional hydrofoil streaming along the Yangtze. The veranda was a great place to take pictures, relax and enjoy the experience together. The Viking Emerald crew was friendly, strived to learn our names and to deliver outstanding service. We utilized the on-board laundry, and were pleased with the service and low cost. There certainly is no need to over-pack for this trip. There were many high points of our cruise on the Yangtze including visiting a museum. temple, and Viking-partnered elementary school, but going through and touring Three Gorges Dam was the highlight. To go though the dam was an awe inspiring experience, especially after having learned about its history and seeing relocated villages along the Yangtze. Chongqing was our disembarkation city, and a city of 30 million people. The Viking Emerald tied up to a floating dock a couple hundred feet from shore. It was a wonderful experience to see local farmers hand-carrying produce and other foods to the ship for its return trip. The farmers also handled the ship's baggage and would carry a passenger, if desired. We flew from Chongqing to Xian, where we saw the Terra Cotta Army and Pandas. There was still excavation and reconstruction of soldiers underway at the Terra Cotta Army site. The Pandas were great fun, and zoo a wonderful place for people of all ages. We moved on to Beijing, visited the Great Wall and jade factory on one day, and then Tienanmen Square and Forbidden City the next day. The anticipation was high for our tour to the Great Wall because there initially was fog in the mountains that acted like a curtain, and then lifted later in the morning. To be on the Wall was like being at a festival with traditionally clothed bands marching and people helping one another to take pictures to remember their visits. Tienanmen Square and Forbidden City were huge sites that displayed much about the history and culture of China. It was hot in June and this day required stamina and plenty of hydration to keep going. We went to the Beijing Opera and to a restaurant specializing in Peking duck for dinner. Both were pleasant experiences, and the opera was much different than Western opera. We moved on with another flight to Guilin, which was an area filled with magical landscapes of towering mountains, low river-lined valleys, and farms like in Chinese paintings. A day cruise along the river with lunch on-board ship gave a closeup experience that produced many great memories and pictures. Our last stop was Hong Long, and there was plenty of free time. We toured the city on foot, and went to Macau for an afternoon. The trip to Macau on a fast ferry was an event itself, and it was interesting to see the island. The only substantial delay we experienced during our entire trip was a half day with a return flight home from Hong Kong due to a medical emergency on the inbound US flight. Viking representatives helped us with options and escorted us to the airport. After a very hard working Delta Airlines representative finalized our arrangements, we checked our carry-on baggage at a secure storage locker and used this day to visit Lantau Island and a fishing village outside of Hong Kong to see dragon boat races. Everyone should hope for a delayed flight because the experience is priceless on Lantau with the 4-mile cable car ride to its peak. Our Viking River Cruise tour was a a wonderful life experience, where we enjoyed ourselves and learned so much about other people, their country, culture, and history. All of the Viking team members we encountered delivered excellent service, and especially Francis Yang our tour guide. The Viking Emerald and all transportation were in top shape and extremely clean. We would highly recommend Viking River Cruises based upon our experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
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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