9 Viking River Viking Emerald Cruise Reviews for River Cruises to Asia River

Only way we would tour China was with a guided tour; we chose Viking because friends had recommended Viking for its wonderful service and comprehensive excursions. We were not disappointed. In fact, we loved every minute, though the ... Read More
Only way we would tour China was with a guided tour; we chose Viking because friends had recommended Viking for its wonderful service and comprehensive excursions. We were not disappointed. In fact, we loved every minute, though the schedule and pace were extremely exhausting. Our tour, "Undiscovered China," began in Shanghai, ending in Beijing. We felt safe the entire time and were amazed at the friendliness and openness of the Chinese people. Our guides all along the way were extraordinary, especially "TOM," our guide who stayed with us on the entire tour. At one point, one of our fellow travelers became very ill and had to spend a couple of nights in a local hospital. Viking's attention to her needs all along the rest of the trip was amazing. We will definitely travel with Viking again. We would recommend that Viking upgrade the China ship...it was tired, but the crew and staff were absolutely wonderful. The pace, though, was a killer. Quite a few of us had to miss a day of touring along the way, just because of being worn out. Some fell ill and had to miss a day or two of touring. I haven't a suggestion to remedy this, but too much of the local food seemed to be the culprit in most cases. All in all, this was the trip of a lifetime, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We wanted to take an Asian cruise and decided on the Viking Roof of the World land/river cruise tour. It included 6 days on the Yangtze plus 10 days on land. The clinching part was the inclusion of 2.5 days in Tibet which none of the ... Read More
We wanted to take an Asian cruise and decided on the Viking Roof of the World land/river cruise tour. It included 6 days on the Yangtze plus 10 days on land. The clinching part was the inclusion of 2.5 days in Tibet which none of the other river cruise lines offered. We landed in Beijing after a 14 hour flight and were met by the Viking representative who would be our tour guide for the entire trip and a better one we couldn't have had. We were fortunate to have gotten one that didn't parrot the party line and was even critical of some of the government practices - a breath of reality in an oppressive political climate. Then we arrived at the first of four 5 star hotels we would stay at- the Fairmont Beijing. Walking in through a revolving door that had living plants as a center piece and that was activated by your presence was just a preface of the luxury that the hotel offered. The room was all that and more with an over king sized bed, plush robes and towels that would have wrapped up both my wife and myself. The staff was at our beck and call but that first day we were too tired to do more than get settled and go to dinner which, like all the meals, was a buffet style. We never ate more Chinese food in 16 days then we did on this trip. The next 7 days included Bejing where we saw the Forbidden City, which was awesome and brought to life history that we had just read about like the whole trip did, and trekked to the Great Wall (be prepared for lots of climbing on that excursion and bring lots of water) Xian where the terra cotta soldiers are - far more impressive seeing them for real then any picture can do justice to - before arriving in Lhasa, Tibet. Upon landing we taxied past a line of Mig-23 fighter planes parked on the tarmac showing us why out flight there had been delayed over three hours. We saw the highest monastery in the world and were pleasantly surprised in not needing to use the oxygen provided in our rooms at the Shangri-La Lhasa (they did that because we were over 13,000 ft above sea level). After leaving Tibet we flew to Chongquing where we boarded the Emerald for the trip down the Yangtze. Our cabin was fairly large for not being a suite and amply supplied with water and sodas all included in the trip. Dinners were open seating so we were able to sit with different people almost every night although we did form attachments and tended to search those people. The Viking trips are inclusive so all excursions are part of the trip and we were kept busy - almost too busy to shop although we did manage to find time to get some very nice items. For the most part DO NOT pay the posted price unless it is in a government store - bargaining is expected and enjoyed by the vendors. You will be looked on with contempt if you don't! I saved about 30% on some jewelry by bargaining so it works. One of the highlights of the river part is the trip through the Three Gorges - magnificent scenery and we were fortunate to have clear if partly cloudy days for it. Words can't describe it just like they can't describe Alaskan scenery - you have to see it and try to capture the essence in photo's. We docked in Wuhan and flew to Singapore, spent 2 days there before making the long flight back home. This was a long and tiring cruise/tour but one that we both enjoyed and look forward to visiting other regions in Asia. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This cruise was an excellent way to see China. It was part of a combined land and river vacation. The accommodations on the river cruise boat were great and service was excellent. The dining facility was nice and there was great variety in ... Read More
This cruise was an excellent way to see China. It was part of a combined land and river vacation. The accommodations on the river cruise boat were great and service was excellent. The dining facility was nice and there was great variety in the meals. Some of the meals had Chinese themes which added to our enjoyment of the local cuisine. On the ship there were many shows, lectures, and exhibits. The staff were very helpful and always answered all our questions. There were very informative lectures and presentations that preceded the various ports of call. They were very helpful in preparing us ahead for the various sites we would visit. On the shore excursions there were always guides to assist us and give us information on the cultural sites that we visited. They helped us to appreciate more the places that we visited. Our stateroom had a nice view of the Yangtzee River. There was also a daily newsletter to keep us up to date on the various activities on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We traveled with Viking River Cruises on the Imperial Jewels of China trip (April, 2016) in the direction from Beijing to Shanghai. The trip was wonderful and a fantastic experience. A very safe and convenient way to see parts of China. ... Read More
We traveled with Viking River Cruises on the Imperial Jewels of China trip (April, 2016) in the direction from Beijing to Shanghai. The trip was wonderful and a fantastic experience. A very safe and convenient way to see parts of China. Good tour guide who spoke excellent English (although we had to call him by a made up western name!) Why? Hotels were excellent - Kerry in Beijing, Hilton in Xi'an and Westin Bund in Shanghai. Kerry was the best by far, although it's dining experience was affected by a lot of new staff still very much "in training" mode. Summer Palace - we went there ourselves and enjoyed. Tiananmen Square and Forbidden city - both hugely interesting and full of such intrigue and history. Great Wall - -the best trip of the holiday. Some stiff walking, steep steps and hills but just an amazing site and incredible that a Wall can be built on top of a mountain/hills! Xi'an - Terra Cotta warriors - we loved and were amazed at the story behind finding them in 1974/1976 and how well so much of it has been preserved. Yangtze river cruise started in Chongqing. Bit of a shambles getting to and onto the boat (Viking Emerald) but a great welcome from the staff when arriving at the boat's reception. First stop - Shibaozhai pagoda - fascinating but a lot of hassle from traders getting there and back. Enjoy the "Drunken Bridge". 3 Gorges and dam were stunning - even though it was misty most of the time. Added to the eerie atmosphere. Cabin was good, bed and pillows fine, excellent shower and great and helpful staff. Food was good and two or three Captain/Welcome-back receptions which were nice. Good evening entertainment, especially the show put on by the boat's staff. Fantastic, especially the magician. Shanghai was a very modern and westernised city (and very busy). would recommend this tri to those who would like to visit China and see a number of top sites and relax for 5 days on a river cruise. Areas of disappointment - - information suggested that all evening meals were included in the hotels were were staying in. No. Two meals were outwith the hotel and one was part of an optional trip to the theatre, which we weren't doing. So we had to buy two meals ourselves as we were tired and didn't want to leave the hotel. - 3 internals flights (main luggage all taken care of, which was wonderful) - fine but we were only told the flight times on the day (or evening before) and that they would be about 30 to 90 mins. Each was over 2 hours. - information on the trips was only fully provided the day before, not allowing we thought, adequate time to plan whether to go on an excursion or not. - took ill on the second last day on the boat (as a number of fellow passengers did) Chinese doctor was $120 and I came away with 8 boxes of medicine. Got home, saw doctor, diagnosed pneumonia changed the medicines. This clouded my experience of the last 4 to 5 days of the trip I am afraid. Especially as I had got in touch with some of the wonderful people we had met on the trip and discovered that a number of other people had also taken ill with similar symptoms to mine. - recommendations on tips seemed high - but that seemed to be the way of things these days. - three lunches were at places where you had to listen to a 20 minute presentation (you weren't told this until you arrived) - jade, terra cotta warriors and something else I have forgotten and then shop and then get your lunch. Not what I had expected from Viking. Overall we enjoyed the trip, but not as much as the Danube river cruise we had done with Viking the year before.Viking staff reallay look after you well and nothing is too much trouble to them. 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 was an excellent experience for our first trip to China. Fantastic itinerary, great hotels, awesome cruise. Great service all around. In an overwhelming country with so much to see, Viking helped us to focus on the must sees. Right ... Read More
This was an excellent experience for our first trip to China. Fantastic itinerary, great hotels, awesome cruise. Great service all around. In an overwhelming country with so much to see, Viking helped us to focus on the must sees. Right from picking us up at the airport and adding an extra excursion for those of us arriving a day early, we realized that this would be something special. The land portion of the tour was great, fantastic hotels, meals and a well-informed, interesting and energetic tour guide. The cruise was breath-taking! Our first real river cruise experience did not disappoint. The ship was beautiful, well-appointed and clean with very helpful staff. It was amazing how quickly they got to know us, and what our needs were. The room was very nice, and it was great to be able to sit on the balcony and take pictures as we cruised down the Yang-Tse. We would most definitely recommend this tour as a great way to discover China. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
The cabins on our ship were always well maintained. We had a great view off our balcony and we could hear the scenery descriptions as we sailed down the Yangtze River. We really appreciated the surprise gifts left in our cabins during our ... Read More
The cabins on our ship were always well maintained. We had a great view off our balcony and we could hear the scenery descriptions as we sailed down the Yangtze River. We really appreciated the surprise gifts left in our cabins during our journey. As always we enjoyed the varied Viking menu which included food and beverages native to the areas we visited. The crew put on some outstanding shows and the audience participation was a lot of fun. The stops we made, the excursions and our on board native country guide were all excellent! Our guide was easy to understand and always attended to our every need. We had plenty of time for sightseeing and shopping. And the on board shopping had an outstanding selection as well. This trip also featured an on board tailor so we could special order apparel. My husband, brother, sister-in-law and I would strongly recommend this trip! Read Less
Sail Date October 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
We visited wonderful places - in awe factor order - Forbidden City, Great Wall, Terra Cotta Soldiers, Yangtze River Gorges, school visit, Zoo/Pandas, numerous historical/cultural sites sprinkled throughout our journey. Was not impressed ... Read More
We visited wonderful places - in awe factor order - Forbidden City, Great Wall, Terra Cotta Soldiers, Yangtze River Gorges, school visit, Zoo/Pandas, numerous historical/cultural sites sprinkled throughout our journey. Was not impressed with Hu Tong visit (much construction work which appeared mostly unkempt and junky) and a demonstration of hacky sac type game nearby. Our guide, Matt, was excellent - always in tune with our group and looking out for our welfare. I am an adventurous eater and the food was excellent everywhere we went. Viking Emerald is an older ship so it was not as well appointed as others but accommodations were satisfactory none the less. The ship's crew were friendly, courteous and professional always. The Chinese people appeared friendly and always smiled. We learned to say "Hello" in Chinese and that always brought a smile and a wave and occasionally a picture with "the American visitors" especially from the kids who were just adorable. We would not hesitate to book future Viking vacations in any country offered. Read Less
Sail Date May 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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