13 Viking River Viking Emerald Cruise Reviews for Group and Theme Cruises to Asia River

First of all I apologize for the lateness of this review as I've been busy with life since getting back. We went on the Viking Emerald Yangtze River cruise because a.) we wanted to see the real China, and b.) our daughter was ... Read More
First of all I apologize for the lateness of this review as I've been busy with life since getting back. We went on the Viking Emerald Yangtze River cruise because a.) we wanted to see the real China, and b.) our daughter was studying abroad in Shanghai and we decided to tack on a few days at the end of the cruise to visit her. It was our first Viking cruise, and if it was indicative of how Viking operates I am looking forward to being a repeat customer. Our journey started in Beijing. It took use four hours to get through the multiple lines, two artificial intelligence photos, one misplaced bag and countless immigration officials at the Beijing airport. We were sure that the Viking official who was to pick us up would have left by the time we made it through the gantlet. I was preparing to get a cab to our hotel. But no, Leo, who would serve as our guide throughout the trip, was waiting at the end of the maze for us. That got everything off to the right foot. It really is more of a tour than a cruise. You are split up into groups of about three dozen, and you stay in that group the duration of the trip with the same tour guide. You also start to make friends with a variety of people you did not know before. Leo was fantastic. The poor guy was herding cats the whole trip, and it started five minutes into our first tour at Tiananmen Square, where one person made a wrong turn almost immediately as we got off the bus. But Leo was patient, and eventually he was reunited with the group. China is a strenuous tour. But not impossible. There's a lot of walking, Viking did arrange a wheelchair for one person in our group, and even though China is not an accessible-friendly country, he did manage quite well with the aid of a Viking associate. Basically our tour started with land tours in Beijing, Xi'an, and Chongqing. That took about five days. In Chongqing we boarded the Emerald and traveled down the Yangtze for about six days. Then from Wuhan we flew to Shanghai to complete the tour. Viking offers the same tour in the opposite direction. In addition to the tourist sites, we got to see how regular people live, meeting an artist in her home in one of the poorest sections of Beijing, and visiting a primary school that is sponsored by Viking. The food was spectacular. We had Peking Duck in Beijing, and a variety of food throughout the trip both o the ship and in restaurants. I don't drink so I can't attest to the wine and beer, but I heard no complaints. The ship was great. The public rooms and our guest room were well-maintained and clean. The staff was friendly and always available to help. If China is something on the bucket list, I would highly recommend Viking. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We (wife and I) chose this Viking Emerald cruise because it has the major destinations (cities), river cruising, and the dates we wanted. The tour was for 14 days. We booked a couple days before and after the tour/cruise dates to get ... Read More
We (wife and I) chose this Viking Emerald cruise because it has the major destinations (cities), river cruising, and the dates we wanted. The tour was for 14 days. We booked a couple days before and after the tour/cruise dates to get acclimated to the time zone change (from USA/AZ to CN/Beijing) and do some extra site seeing in Beijing and Shanghai. We had a ride booked from the Beijing airport to our hotel and use a cab to ride from Shanghai to the airport. Taxi cab prices were very reasonable. We made sure to get the hotel's address/map, and have the hotel's front desk write down the destination in Chinese for the cab drivers. It was an initial challenge 'flagging down' a return taxi ride until we saw how other people were positioning themselves on the streets. We were on the Viking Emerald river boat for seven days from Chongqing to Wuhan. It was easy to navigate the various levels and find the rooms. The ship levels were all very clean and well furnished. The staff was very accommodating, knowledgeable, and friendly. The cabin was very comfortable, quiet and there was enough storage for our stuff. The dining was good. My wife and I are vegetarian and the selection was spare for lunch and dinner. We asked for some more 'interesting' dishes and the chef was able to accommodate our wants a couple nights. It was enjoyable to sit at different tables to meet new people from various locations. There were approximately 250 people on the boat. The entertainment by the staff was interesting and fun. The informational talks were very good. The staff entertainment with local dress and dance was very good. The M/C was very good, fun jokes, explained local customs and culture. and coordinate the entertainment in the evenings (with guest participation). We did a lot of walking at the cities, ports and excursions. Typical days we walked 2-5 miles -- so make sure you wear good shoes. Smog was an issue for me by the end of tour even though I wore a breathing mask (still dealing with respiratory issues over a month later). My highlight was X'ian and the Terra-Cotta army exhibit. But, all destination were fascinating: Beijing's Tienanmen Square, Forbidden City, Buddhist temple, Confucius temple, neighborhoods, Great Wall, etc. Xian's city square and the Terra-Cotta army exhibit, museum, plus capital for 13 dynasties, etc. Chongqing's embark onto river boat Yangstze River's cruise, Shibaozhai temple, Three gorges wall views, locks, 3G dam, Jingzhou elementary school visit, etc. Wuhan's disembark from river boat for plane ride to Changhai. Shanghai's historical architecture, new buildings, art district, etc. The tour manager/guide was very knowledgeable, courteous, and fun to be with. I took approximately 2,400 pictures and am editing them for viewing. Lots to see and remember the trip via computer screen saver slide show. One trip to China satisfies our interest. We traveled to Southeast Asia and will probably go back there as the food is more accommodating. 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
First time with Viking and wanted to be fully escorted on our first trip to China. Heard great things about Viking in China and it did not disappoint. Viking took care of us from the moment we landed in Beijing until we flew home from ... Read More
First time with Viking and wanted to be fully escorted on our first trip to China. Heard great things about Viking in China and it did not disappoint. Viking took care of us from the moment we landed in Beijing until we flew home from Shanghai. Ship did not have a lot of entertainment but we were tired each day from our tours so it did not matter. Staff on the ship remembered our names and what we like to eat and drink which made going into the dining room or bar area more welcoming. I had the tailor make me a lined jacket as well as a silk robe which is very nice to have as a memory. Massages are available on board and they are all very reasonable considering it is a cruise ship and usually those are very expensive. I would recommend a Viking Cruise if you want to visit China! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
China seemed like a daunting destination to do on our own, so we decided to sample it with a reputable company, Viking. The trip was beyond our expectations! The entire time we felt like we were very special VIPs. Viking thought of ... Read More
China seemed like a daunting destination to do on our own, so we decided to sample it with a reputable company, Viking. The trip was beyond our expectations! The entire time we felt like we were very special VIPs. Viking thought of everything. It was a relief to just let go and enjoy the experience of such a different culture. The hotel accommodations were 5 star luxury, the food was excellent, the river cruse portion was pampering, the staff was very attentive to every need, the excursions was informative and wonderful. I would recommend this to anyone without hesitation. Go see China with Viking! The tour group is broken in several smaller groups. The tour guide you are assigned stays with your small group of 20 the entire trip. You feel like you become this little family. Our tour guide, Jamie, was the best. She told us many storied and explained Chinese culture to us in a fun way. Even when we flew, the airport experience of easy. Jamie got the tickets, we breezed through security, off to the gate, waited 15 minutes to get on the plane and off we went. Wow, wish we could do that in the US! I would recommend this tour for anyone from the mid-20's on. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We did the Viking Emerald cruise starting in Shanghai and ending in Beijing. The Westin hotel on Shanghai was very comfortable and the service was good. From there we flew to Wuhan to pick up the Viking Emerald for our 5 day cruise down ... Read More
We did the Viking Emerald cruise starting in Shanghai and ending in Beijing. The Westin hotel on Shanghai was very comfortable and the service was good. From there we flew to Wuhan to pick up the Viking Emerald for our 5 day cruise down the Yangtze. We had a cabin on the 5th deck and it was very spacious and very clean. A bottle of sparkling wine awaited us and fresh fruit which was replaced every day. All toiletries were replaced when used and the hairdryer was a nice small size which could be plugged in anywhere in the cabin. English electrical goods needed an adapter. The food was exceptionally good with western and Chinese options at each meal. The dining room consisted of tables of ten people and you could sit where you liked. The entertainment was very good and consisted mainly of Chinese culture which meant the crew taking part at all times. The person describing the main man (Wilhelm) who did a lot of the introducing obviously had no sense of humour. Wilhelm is an Austrian and had a wonderful sense of humour that kept the whole ship laughing as we didn't know what he would come out with next. A very nice, humble man too, I thought. Our Tour guide was Iowa and he looked after us from start to finish. Even when my husband and another friend became ill he went to the pharmacy and brought back medicine for them both. His knowledge and passion for China shone through. He spoke English perfectly and he too had a wonderful sense of (English) humour which made the whole trip a joy to be on. He worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure everything worked smoothly. From Chongqing where we disembarked we flew to Xian to see the Terracotta warriors and to visit the zoo to see the Pandas. We were lucky to see all five on the day. The Tang Dynasty show and dinner went very well too. The food was a regular Chinese meal with rice wine which flowed freely. The show had beautiful effects and colourful costumes and the story was told on a screen up on the left hand side of the stage. Well worth seeing. From there we flew to Beijing where we walked the Great Wall, saw the Forbidden City and Tianamen Square with Mao's Mausoleum. A rickshaw ride and a visit to a jade warehouse completed the trip. From when reached our first hotel until we landed at home, we never touched our suitcases except to pack and leave them outside our doors for collection. Disabled people travelling with us had access to wheelchairs and willing people to push them for a small fee. Also I think it prudent to mention that most public toilets have no loo paper, so be warned! All in all not a cheap trip but well worth the money as it was so well organised. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was my first Viking experience. The service and attention to detail was exceptional. I did not worry about handling my luggage or transfers. There were enough activities to keep you busy if you wanted to do something and also enough ... Read More
This was my first Viking experience. The service and attention to detail was exceptional. I did not worry about handling my luggage or transfers. There were enough activities to keep you busy if you wanted to do something and also enough space to relax on enjoy the cruise experience. The was an extensive variety in gourmet food selection with every meal. The river boat is an older model with large clean cabins. The crew is very friendly and customer oriented. Viking makes sure the excursions are a once in a lifetime experience, Great Wall, Terra Cota Warriors, Tea Ceremony, Forbidden City, 2 Chinese theater experiences, interaction with local people, and eating in local restaurants. I did not worry about getting to and from the hotel or through customs at anytime because I was with Viking. I will never forget my trip to China and look forward to my next trip with Viking. 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
We took the cruise to find out more about China and the people. It turned out to be a really great journey. Our escort was fantastic and had a lot of patience with the group. He spoke really good English and was detailed in his ... Read More
We took the cruise to find out more about China and the people. It turned out to be a really great journey. Our escort was fantastic and had a lot of patience with the group. He spoke really good English and was detailed in his explanations of our tour. The crew of the ship and people we had contact with were all very friendly and helpful. We were treated very well during the whole trip. Our fellow passengers were delightful and new friends were made. We really got to know each other and got along very well. The entertainment on the ship was very good and interesting. The food was also very good and had a great variety of things to choose from for your eating pleasure. The stall in the restaurant was top grade. I have been telling my friends about this trip and strongly recommend they take it. We saw things and experienced things we would have never done on our own. The trip is a bargain for all you get to do and see. One last thing. The beds and rooms on the ship were really great and the service we received for our cabin was second to none. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Fantastic cruise, fantastic restaurants, fantastic ship, fantastic staff, fantastic food, fantastic service, fantastic guide (Joshua). This was our China anniversary (20 years) so we picked China for our holiday. We were not disappointed. ... Read More
Fantastic cruise, fantastic restaurants, fantastic ship, fantastic staff, fantastic food, fantastic service, fantastic guide (Joshua). This was our China anniversary (20 years) so we picked China for our holiday. We were not disappointed. The whole trip was brilliant, particularly with our well informed, excellent English speaking guide, Joshua. The five nights spent on the ship was only part of a fortnight's tour, the rest of which was excellent too. We visited the Dam on the Yangzte, a major feature on the river with it's giant locks alongside. Sailing through the three gorges was spectacular with high steep faced cliffs either side of a narrow gorge and the Goddess gorge, a separate trip on a smaller vessel was a must, a spectacle in its own right, the Terracotta Warriors, the Great Wall of China and not forgetting the Pandas @ Chonqing. Fantastic, thank you Viking for this memorable trip. I'm glad we went in the direction that we did as the scenery got better the further we went and going back towards Shanghai would appear to be largely industrial and apparently you cannot visit the pandas in that direction. All of the restaurants visited were of a high standard serving excellent food with exceptional staff and service. We particularly liked the Peking Duck restaurant in Beijing where the duck was carved and served at the table in front of you with an expert member of staff showing you how to assemble a proper pancake. Furthermore we enjoyed the dancing show which included 12 different types of dumpling which were delicious. The Kung Fu show was amazing also. Looking forward to our next Viking trip! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
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 my first Viking cruise and I would definitely recommend it to all my friends. I have traveled around the world and China was on my list to see next. The Chinese people were friendly and the food was wonderful! Our tour guide, ... Read More
This was my first Viking cruise and I would definitely recommend it to all my friends. I have traveled around the world and China was on my list to see next. The Chinese people were friendly and the food was wonderful! Our tour guide, Richard, was amazing, funny, informative and very organized. He has a true gift for sharing his country with his guests and he made everything run smoothly for us. The ship furnishings seemed a little tired, but was OK. Having a dehumidifier in the room was a must. Our dining room staff were great! They were friendly and always remembered our names! The food on the ship was delicious and there was always a good variety. The cabin staff showed minimal care and our cabin lacked storage. It would have been nice to have some drawer space. Our hotels stays were amazing. The hotels were gorgeous and the food was superior. All our shore excursions were amazing. I enjoyed seeing everything that was available! Reading about China and then seeing the sights in person exceeded all expectations. I wish we had gone in the spring tho, as the temperature in July was very hot and all the Chinese were on vacation as well. Even tho it was crowded, our tour guide was adept at getting us to and thru everywhere. Richard took care of keeping us informed of our every step, from bus rides to our in- country flights. I am so happy that I was able to see China with the help of the Viking staff! It is hard to describe the air pollution throughout China. But it is very noticeable and upon my return home, my lungs took a while to clear out. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was my first Viking River Cruise and it was outstanding. I took this trip alone with no expectations and was pleased to have the time of my life. I enjoyed every minute of the trip and especially meeting some very nice people. That ... Read More
This was my first Viking River Cruise and it was outstanding. I took this trip alone with no expectations and was pleased to have the time of my life. I enjoyed every minute of the trip and especially meeting some very nice people. That is part of traveling. I was pleased that the trip was very well planned by Viking. The hotel accommodations were perfect and our tour guide Kobe was excellent. He made the trip so much fun and I know we learned a lot about China from Beijing to Shanghai. Service on board the ship was very good and the young people who were serving us were very friendly and helpful as was my cabin attendant. All of the staff aboard the ship were very good and very helpful. The shore excursions were well planned and very enjoyable and quite a learning experience. The food was very good as was presentation. The choices were amazing. The entertainment was beyond good it was excellent. Seeing the young servers perform was very special and they did a great job. I was so pleased to attend the Peking Opera, The Tang Dynasty Dinner and Show (I bought a DVD of the Tang Dynasty performance so I can always enjoy this great show), the Shanghai Museum and Bell performance and the Acrobat Show. I could go on and on - I have recommended this trip to friends and family. I look forward to my upcoming Viking River Cruise on the Elbe in May 2016. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
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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