12 Viking River Viking Emerald Luxury Cruise Reviews

We always wanted to see China and Viking provided an excellent trip all around. Our guide, Michael was personable, very helpful and made our trip very comfortable. He knew all the details about our travels and made them seamless. We saw ... Read More
We always wanted to see China and Viking provided an excellent trip all around. Our guide, Michael was personable, very helpful and made our trip very comfortable. He knew all the details about our travels and made them seamless. We saw and experienced so many beautiful sights; each one more impressive and vast than the last. We ate fabulous Chinese food each day and tasted the various local cuisines. It was a three week trip including a 7 night river cruise on the Yangsee River. The hotels in every city were absolutely top grade; very elegant and the ship was very nice as well. We were in a group with our guide for the entire trip which was very comforting; this made the trip so much better. The local guides in each city were knowledgeable and we learned so much about the culture and different areas of China. It was a trip of a lifetime and we highly recommend this to all. It was a very busy trip with alot of travel; 4 flights and the bullet train inside China; but well worth it in order to see so many beautiful sights. We have wonderful memories and fantastic pictures. Thanks Viking and Guide, Michael. The lectures and entertainment onboard ship was top notch. We look forward to our next adventure with Viking Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
W thoroughly enjoyed our time on Viking Emerald. Everything was well organised from our embarkation to leaving at Chonquing. All the crew were very good although one or two of the waiting staff did not have enough english to get by. The ... Read More
W thoroughly enjoyed our time on Viking Emerald. Everything was well organised from our embarkation to leaving at Chonquing. All the crew were very good although one or two of the waiting staff did not have enough english to get by. The cabins were always kept in the best of order and very clean. We enjoyed this time to relax as the rest of the tour was rather hectic and a little too full. Walking with a stick I had some difficulty in keeping up with the tour guides, although Matthew our guide was very good and looked after me as best he could. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
The entire Roof of the World tour included a land package that started in Beijing, then we flew to Xian, Lhasa Tibet, and Chongqing, where we boarded the Viking Emerald and sailed down the Yangtze River to Wuhan; then flew to Shanghai, ... Read More
The entire Roof of the World tour included a land package that started in Beijing, then we flew to Xian, Lhasa Tibet, and Chongqing, where we boarded the Viking Emerald and sailed down the Yangtze River to Wuhan; then flew to Shanghai, where the main tour ended (but we also took the post-extension tour to Guilin and Hong Kong). I will not give a full review of the entire trip, as this posting is primarily about the 'cruise' portion, but for more details on the rest of the trip, I recommend you read the review by terran_explr, 'Perfect way to visit China', although that trip (Imperial Jewels of China) did not include Tibet. I will also note to you that if you take the tour the first week in October, be prepared for massive crowds at all the tourist spots, because this is their national holiday week, and the Chinese are also on vacation! First, I will say that the tour escorts Viking provides are first rate. And our guide, Arnold, was the best of the best! You will be very lucky, indeed, if you get him for your tour. And I must also say that all the hotels we stayed at were first rate (4/5 stars). We stayed at a couple of Fairmont Hotels and the rest were Shangri-La Hotels; all were fabulous and luxuriously appointed. Dining in the hotels was usually buffet style, so lots of choices, and good food. Other restaurants during the day's tours were sometimes 'uneven' in quality; most just okay. Although I will say that the restaurant we went to for Peking Duck was exceptionally good! I found the Viking Emerald to be a lovely ship (yes, it is actually owned by a Chinese company, Century, and leased by Viking...just part of doing business in China, I guess). But the ship itself is in very good condition, especially compared to some other tourist ships there, I've heard. We had no problems with anything not functioning the way it should, except the loudspeaker system was not always very clear, and the wifi was very uneven or absent. But our room (Veranda A428) was lovely and well kept, as were all the public areas. The restaurant was part buffet, part table service. Seating was completely open, which was a very nice option, in that you could join a new group of people, or meet up with friends, at any table at each meal. Food was quite good, too, and they would always offer the usual 'western' items, as well as featuring specialties from whatever area in China you were at for the day. And they were always very generous with beer and wine at lunch and dinner (included)! There were also gift shops for jewelry, jade, art, tea, and silks onboard. There was a modest library, gym and salon/spa, internet room and coffee (& other refreshments) station. There were also 2 bars/lounges, and open deck area on the top deck. Programs and entertainment shows were presented in the lounges. The ship is usually in port during the day, when shore excursions are underway. I will say that one of our favorites was the trip up the Goddess Stream area...wild and beautiful scenery! The tour of the Wu Dam was also very impressive. Some parts of the Yangtze are quite scenic, although we were sad to see so much trash and pollution in the water, especially above the dam. Hopefully the government (?) will try to address this, as it will impact the tourist trade, if it gets too bad. Onboard, there is always something to do, even when not in port...I learned how to play Chinese mahjong and make Chinese dumplings! There are also several programs offered on Chinese history and customs, etc. But I will also say that there is time to relax and take a nap, just visit with friends, or have a facial, if you like. The land portion of this trip is so filled with so many things to see and do, that by the time you get on board the ship, you're ready to slow down and catch your breathe. And the cruise down the river is like having a vacation from your vacation! I quite enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Our whole Viking Experience was first cl ass. Starting in Beijing and ending in Hon Kong our guide Patrick was with us every step of the way. The wonderful knowledge he had made our China experience very memorable and fun. The shore ... Read More
Our whole Viking Experience was first cl ass. Starting in Beijing and ending in Hon Kong our guide Patrick was with us every step of the way. The wonderful knowledge he had made our China experience very memorable and fun. The shore excursions were well organized. Our cabin on board was great except for the couple of cockroaches but staff were quick to take care of them. Meals were wonderful as well as the on board staff. Everyone made us feel cared for and we became very good friends with the people in our group. Entertainment by the staff was well appreciated by us and we admire the young men and women who put so much into their routines as well as work all day at their various jobs. We would definitely recommend Viking to our family and friends. In fact we are taking your Viking River Cruise in September 2016 , from Budapest to Amsterdam. Looking forward to it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
From the first day to the last day, this trip was outstanding! Our guide, Bob, was most congenial, shared his background (most interesting), shared his in depth knowledge of his country and cared for us as a Mother Hen cares for her ... Read More
From the first day to the last day, this trip was outstanding! Our guide, Bob, was most congenial, shared his background (most interesting), shared his in depth knowledge of his country and cared for us as a Mother Hen cares for her chicks. The 5 Star hotels were a real pleasure to experience, from the Lobby Ambassadors, to the rooms, to the flower arrangements, to the food! Viking assumed responsibility for all things while on this trip; Baggage, boarding passes, tickets to excursions, you name it and they handled it. While the Viking Emerald was a bit "tired" looking, the staff, food and activities more than made up for it. Dining aboard was a pleasure complimented by staff that not only remembered your name, but what your most favorite drink was. Our cabin was clean, comfortable and fresh smelling. The entertainment aboard was centered around the culture of China which we found enjoyable and entertaining. The shore excursions provided us an opportunity to experience multiple UNESCO sites and most of the best known attractions of China while adding to our knowledge of a culture that is thousands of years old. We have recommended this trip to many of our friends as "the trip of a lifetime". Read Less
Sail Date September 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
From booking to landing in Beijing we were supported all the way. (Make sure that you have Viking sort out your visa's, makes life easier) At the Beijing airport we were met by our excellent guide who was with us all through the trip. ... Read More
From booking to landing in Beijing we were supported all the way. (Make sure that you have Viking sort out your visa's, makes life easier) At the Beijing airport we were met by our excellent guide who was with us all through the trip. The hotels were supperb all 5 star with all interconnections carefully corriagraphed. The excursions were fantastic, Tianamen square, the Great Wall, and the forbidden city. Then Xian to see the terra cotta warriors, what an awesome spectacle. Onwards to Chongqing to board the Emerald, a great cruise down the Yangsi river with marvellous sites and excursions. The staterooms were a very pleasant surprise as to their sheer size. Felt much larger than anticipated. If you can start in Beijing and finish in Shanghai, it's not just a cruise but a journey through an amazing country so can be a bit full on. The crew were all friendly and attentive and ensured a very pleasant trip. This was our first trip with Viking Cruises and we are now looking forward to doing a European river trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
What a wonderful trip, this being my second time with Viking in China. This is a different ship that the last time, but just as nice and comfortable with the greatest room steward I have ever had on any size ship. The selection and ... Read More
What a wonderful trip, this being my second time with Viking in China. This is a different ship that the last time, but just as nice and comfortable with the greatest room steward I have ever had on any size ship. The selection and variety of food, the quality of the free wines and beers on the ship was everything anyone could want. Service also was efficient and fast, with young men and women who were more than happy to being their jobs. The highlight of the ships entertainment was put on the ships own crew, what a great job, their young man doing all the arrangements has a great future ahead of him. Tours were of the best to be offered in China, with excellent local guides, our group leader was also on his toes at all times and we covered everything we needed to see without feeling rushed. The land portion was at 5 star hotels, great clean comfortable rooms excellent meals and service. It was amazing to see how much China has changed in the ten years since I had been there last. For those who would love to see China I can highly recommend Viking with any of the other trips that they offer. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Tour began in Shanghai, Ritz Carlton hotel, flew to Wuhan for 6 night cruise on Yangtze River, Viking Emerald , first class ship, service, crew, food and sightseeing, then on to Xian and the Terra Cotta Warriors, then to Beijing to see ... Read More
Tour began in Shanghai, Ritz Carlton hotel, flew to Wuhan for 6 night cruise on Yangtze River, Viking Emerald , first class ship, service, crew, food and sightseeing, then on to Xian and the Terra Cotta Warriors, then to Beijing to see the Great Wall, Tienneman Square, Forbidden City, Hutong and other sights. Stayed at the Ritz Carleton. Almost all excursions and food included. Fabulous Chinese guide for our small group of 38 throughout the tour. All details handled, just relax and enjoy. Spring flowers were in bloom when we went. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was a first class tour of China. I would rate the 4 hotels we stayed in as 5 star. The Viking Emerald was modern and well maintained. The food on board was excellent. We had one guide who accompanied our group of 30 during the entire ... Read More
This was a first class tour of China. I would rate the 4 hotels we stayed in as 5 star. The Viking Emerald was modern and well maintained. The food on board was excellent. We had one guide who accompanied our group of 30 during the entire trip (she was excellent) and local guides joined us at each new city (they were very good and had expert knowledge of the local area). The entire trip was interesting and Tibet was most unusual and enjoyable. We had a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Starting in Shanghai, the hotel was excellent, Pudong Shangri-La. A little on the expensive side, e.g. a martini, a Bailey's and coffee, and a small dessert was $55 where as dinner near by was only $35 for two including drinks. The ... Read More
Starting in Shanghai, the hotel was excellent, Pudong Shangri-La. A little on the expensive side, e.g. a martini, a Bailey's and coffee, and a small dessert was $55 where as dinner near by was only $35 for two including drinks. The guide was superior, excellent command of the English language and a very good understanding of American customs. In all, there were 3 flights in China. The guide demonstrated his expertise in managing the group of 36 with ease. Flights were nothing special but clean and well organized. Upon boarding the ship, the crew welcomed us with smiles and energy. Staterooms all had balconies and were well taken care of by the staff. Food on board was generally fine, family style was generally done with a big lazy susan for the 10/table. The waiters and waitresses were very good in paying attention to the guests and seeing to the needs. The bar had an exceptional variety of liquors, wines, and beers. I would suggest buying the beverage package if you would drink the equivalent of 2 martinis/day. Entertainment on board was good. On two nights we were treated with the crew performing for us and this was a real treat. Not only did we know our crew but marvelled in how well they performed on stage, nothing short of amazing. During the cruise, we visited the school supported by Viking River Cruises. I wished someone had informed us of this, for we would have brought some little gifts for the students. We arrived at the school on a Saturday and about half the student body come to school on their day off to perform for us and join us in their classrooms. It was fun seeing them. Disembarking from the ship, we went to the zoo in Chongqing. Of course, seeing pandas was the treat. At the end of the zoo tour, we visited an art shop on the zoo grounds and there were some fantastic pieces to buy. Not particularly inexpensive but very well done. Upon arrival in Xian, the hotel, Golden Flower by Shangri-La, was nice, not quite as nice as in Shanghai but clean. Visiting the Terra Cotta Warriors was the next treat. It was amazing how our guide was able to herd cats wandering about, but with skill he managed that feat. Following Xian, we arrived in Beijing. Our arrival at the hotel, Westin Chaoyang, was not a pleasant experience. To put it bluntly, if they offered me a suite for as long as I wished, I would not stay there again. It was a 5 star room with 2 star service. To begin with, the large number of guests arriving had to enter the hotel from the rear. Instead of the guides being allowed to pick up our room keys and hand them out to us, the hotel insisted each of us check in individually. Long lines, with initially only one clerk, and no seats in the lobby. A number of the guests were elderly and standing in a line was not something they would want to do. When we finally got our room key, we were on a floor requiring the room key to be placed in the elevator so to access our floor. It didn't work! A person from the hotel had to use his pass key to allow us to punch in our floor. The key did work in the room door but not the elevator which required a second trip to the front desk to be ignored for a while by staff. Like I said, I would find it difficult to accept even a free room at this hotel. One of the optional thing in Beijing was the Peking Duck Dinner. Forget that. If you have ever had Peking Duck before you will find this is like going to a burger joint and ordering Kobe steak. The dinner was the absolute worse on the whole trip. I will mention though that I was asked by Viking River Cruises how I like my trip and if I had any comments. I mentioned the poor dinner and they refunded me the charge. The trip to the Forbidden City was amazing. Again, the guide was able to keep us all in check and help us maneuver this large place. The trip to the Summer Palace was a little disappointing and would not have been missed by anyone if we hadn't gone. The trip to the Great Wall was yet another marvel. I cannot say enough good things about our guide who helped us in every way possible. One small thing on a personal note, we collect coins from countries we visit to be mounted. Going to China proved to be a place where we thought this hobby would be easily completed. It wasn't. Finding coins proved to be a very difficult task. Finding a bank to manage this was also difficult. Our guide did help with finding coins but I did not get all of them. Overall, the cruise was a surprise for us who were first time Viking guests. The guide made our stay in China feel like we were welcome. We did have an event while on the river cruise portion of the trip. A man became ill and the guide escorted him and his wife ashore to the hospital. There was an issue with the small hospital and dealing with Americans. The guide made contact with the Embassy and worked with them to get the man moved to a larger city with better facilities. At one point, we thought they would rejoin us, but as we neared the end of the tour, we were told on our daily briefings on them that he may not survive. Viking flew their son to China. The good news is that he recovered and was well enough to fly back to the States 2 weeks later. The guide took personal charge of seeing to their needs allowing other guides to manage his group for him. This personal service was well appreciated. The crew on the ship was equally wonderful. There were only two things to avoid, the Peking Duck dinner and the Westin Chaoyang Hotel. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was a trip of a lifetime. We chose Viking River Cruises after enjoying their Waterways of the Czars cruise. Our main guide was very knowledgeable and engaging young man. His sense of humor and his care to all of us was outstanding. ... Read More
This was a trip of a lifetime. We chose Viking River Cruises after enjoying their Waterways of the Czars cruise. Our main guide was very knowledgeable and engaging young man. His sense of humor and his care to all of us was outstanding. What a great way to see the Great Wall of China and Tiananmen Square. Our hotels in Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai were 5 star. Our buses were clean. We had a lower cabin on the boat but the it was identical to the upper deck ones. It also had a veranda. The views were still awesome on the lower level but we usually stayed on the upper deck when cruising. The staff entertained us one night ; they were so talented!! They knew your name after the first night of the cruise. The Li River and Guilin are not to be missed. It is just like the old China that we remembered from pictures in magazines. Hong Kong was exciting to see also. We did most of it with another couple who had been before and knew the ropes. Viking takes care of their passengers. Several people needed medical care and the guides stayed with them, assisting in the language differences and transportation issues. Absolutely no complaints with this wonderful cruise line from food to accommodations to every aspect of our trip. We are taking our third cruise with Viking and will stay with them in the future!! Read Less
Sail Date September 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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