38 Viking River Viking Emerald Senior Cruise Reviews

This was our first time cruising with Viking and the second river cruise. The cruise itself was excellent! It was interesting, scenic, fun, and educational. The ship is stunning with a convenient layout and the service of the entire ... Read More
This was our first time cruising with Viking and the second river cruise. The cruise itself was excellent! It was interesting, scenic, fun, and educational. The ship is stunning with a convenient layout and the service of the entire staff was excellent. There were many activities, including a costume show and a hilarious Crew Show. Loved the food. There was even dancing at night, a real surprise. I was impressed with the top notch organization of the 250 passengers into bus groups with the same guide throughout the 2 week trip. We never felt lost in the shuffle, and we felt that our guide, Matthew, was very attentive to our health and safety. Matthew was personable, humorous and informative and he was honest with his opinions about modern China. He added several anecdotes about his personal life, all which served to enhance the entire China experience. Embarkation and Disembarkation were very organized, with no lines. Our cabin was very nice, although certainly not 5 star. Sometimes, the AC needed repairs. The land part of the trip was eye opening. The 5 or so flights within China all went without a hitch, with Matthew leading the way. The 3 hotels ( in Shanghai, Xi'an and Beijing) were 5 star and the nicest hotels we ever stay in !! Only downside: When we went to the Great Wall, I think we used the entrance with the most crowds because it included a tram ride up the mountain. There were so many people, that there was an hour long wait to get down. And speaking of crowds, that might be the only down side to traveling to China. Because of the explosion of the economy in the last years, millions of people have moved up from poverty to the middle class. Just like us, they love to travel! So the hot spots like the Wall and the Forbidden City can be claustrophobic with people. HIGHLIGHT: Terra Cotta Soldiers in Xi'an. Not too crowded and mind boggling. Excellent tour. Worth the price of the whole trip! All in all , a wonderful trip with many unexpected pleasures and it certainly cleared up many misconceptions Americans may have about China. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
First time with Viking & first river cruise well impressed. Hotels first class beds amazing in size. Ship was excellent house keeping food entertainment staff ever so friendly & helpful. Shore excursions well organized & ... Read More
First time with Viking & first river cruise well impressed. Hotels first class beds amazing in size. Ship was excellent house keeping food entertainment staff ever so friendly & helpful. Shore excursions well organized & informative tour guide Mathew was the best we have ever had humerous &funny but also very knowledgeable. Travel to embarkation & from disembarkation was pleasant & well organized. Food was first class & plentiful. Would travel with Viking again & recommend to friends & family 100% all round. Read Less
Sail Date October 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
We were unsure what to expect from China, but we found the people to be so welcoming and friendly! Our hotels were all 5 star! Every hotel was more lovely than the one before! Very impressive. And the hotel staff were all very ... Read More
We were unsure what to expect from China, but we found the people to be so welcoming and friendly! Our hotels were all 5 star! Every hotel was more lovely than the one before! Very impressive. And the hotel staff were all very attentive! Our ship was also very nice. We saw all the main sights of China. But we also got to see a lot of the real China with small markets and a visit to a local elementary school. The children sang to us in English and then wanted us to sing to them! All of our shore excursions were wonderful and we had the same guide throughout the entire tour. We were on several different flights within China and the planes were all very modern planes and all went well. They don't give you much to eat on these flights but most were not more than two hours. The entertainment on our ship was put on by the staff and it was all top-notch! They are all very talented singers and dancers. We also had magicians and comedians! It was amazing that they have day-jobs and yet put on these fantastic shows in the evenings! Our cabin on the ship was very comfortable. We had a very heavy duvet and we asked for something lighter and they brought us a very soft lightweight blanket that was just perfect! Our guide was absolutely wonderful! When someone had a problem she was right there and took every step possible to help that passenger! We loved the scenery and thought it reminded us of Hawaii because of how lush and green it was! The food was also amazing! Very interesting presentation and the service was excellent. We loved everything about it. We would definitely think of going back some day. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was out second Viking River cruise. A fair amount of time was spent ashore, so the entire "cruise" was not on the river. The three hotels that we stayed at were magnificent. The staff in the hotels as well as on-board the ... Read More
This was out second Viking River cruise. A fair amount of time was spent ashore, so the entire "cruise" was not on the river. The three hotels that we stayed at were magnificent. The staff in the hotels as well as on-board the boat were extremely pleasant and very helpful. A lot of time was spent on buses traveling to and from out accommodations and places we were visiting. Some of the sites we visited were physically demanding. That being said, everything we saw was beautiful and a wonderful experience. The food and service, as with our other Viking experience was excellent. If you wanted something other than what was on the menu, the staff would quickly accommodate your wishes. The cabin was comfortable. I would suggest requesting a dehumidifier when you board the boat. We did and it arrived within minutes of our request. This was not our first Viking cruise nor will it be our last, We are sold on the Viking experience. Everything from accommodations to the food, service and the ours including the guides are the best. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Although this is presented as a cruise the time on the water is only half of the trip. Nor did we embark at Shanghai but the option to choose Chonqing is not in the menu. This was our first experience of cruising since both my husband ... Read More
Although this is presented as a cruise the time on the water is only half of the trip. Nor did we embark at Shanghai but the option to choose Chonqing is not in the menu. This was our first experience of cruising since both my husband and I suffer from seasickness and had not thought it wise to try the oceans! The "Imperial Jewels of China", from Beijing to Shanghai is a once in a lifetime trip. It could hardly be called a "holiday" since leisure time is extremely limited at the beginning and end. Excursions to the "must do" sites such as Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Terra Cotta Warriors etc set off very early in the day to try to avoid the worst of the crowds (not apparently successful!) so leisurely lie in bed is not on the programme. And even on the ship the excursions and activities are time consuming. But apart from the endless crowds and the rather disappointing weather this is an amazing experience. The vastness of a country you see only a portion of, the different culture, the overwhelming scenery - so different as you pass through different regions, the seething crowds ...... The cruise part of the itinerary we enjoyed immensely despite a couple of wet days. Unused to the possibly more luxurious cruise ships we found The Emerald more than comfortable and the crew delightful. If you want more luxury stay put in the hotels that Viking arranged for the rest of the trip! We were unfortunate since the night we embarked at Chongqing was the night that the Chinese cruise ship went down in the Yangtze with the loss of about 400 lives. This impacted on our timetable but the crew were more than helpful and reassuring. We had hoped to be sunbathing on our stateroom balcony but sadly the weather was not that kind. In fact we saw the sun on few occasions which, coming as we do from Andalucia in Spain, was disappointing. The pollution in the big cities hides the sun and the weather systems down in the mountains mean the sky is often grey with heavy cloud and drizzle. So don't take this trip if you want luxurious leisure or if you have difficulty in walking for long periods of time or if bad weather might put you off or if you are allergic to crowds. Take it if you want to experience something totally different and have your mind blown by the "Imperial Jewels of China", it's something you will never forget! P.S. The Viking tour guides are fantastic, particularly ours, the lovely "Johanna", and make things run like clockwork even on such a tight and demanding schedule. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
The trip was great. The hotels were all very nice. It was nice to be in the same small group with the same tour guide the entire trip. I enjoyed all the shore excursions. The food and wine on the ship was outstanding. Since we had 7 ... Read More
The trip was great. The hotels were all very nice. It was nice to be in the same small group with the same tour guide the entire trip. I enjoyed all the shore excursions. The food and wine on the ship was outstanding. Since we had 7 airline flights I liked that the guides took care of our checked in baggage. Everyone was very nice and helpful. My only complaint was two out of our three in country flights were delayed. We missed a couple excursions because of the delays. Read Less
Sail Date May 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
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
I just returned from this trip and it far exceeded my expectations. (I traveled the direction: Beijing to Shanghai.) First I can tell you that I heard nothing but good reviews from my fellow passengers about their own Tour Guide, but I ... Read More
I just returned from this trip and it far exceeded my expectations. (I traveled the direction: Beijing to Shanghai.) First I can tell you that I heard nothing but good reviews from my fellow passengers about their own Tour Guide, but I still think ours was the best: Terry! From start to finish everything was first class. The land portion has passengers staying in 5+ star hotels. Enough cannot be written about how outstanding the hotels were - one simply must experience them. Taking this tour, one sees all the highlights of China, and if there is something in particular you wish to see that is not on the itinerary, the staff is more than helpful in assisting you to put something together so that you can see what you wish. Do come prepared to be in, and experience, a non-Western country. Some individuals on my tours were disappointed they ate so much Chinese food! Others became impatient because a Chinese national could not understand English. Since we were in China this surprised me; I simply thought we all came expecting a country, food, culture and language very different from our own. As with touring anywhere outside of one's home country digestive tracts can become upset trying to adjust, so do come with over-the-counter preparations to help you with such symptoms. I had no issues at all, but about 10% of our group had mild to moderate digestive problems for a short duration. The Summer months can be hot and humid. I understand that Spring and Fall are perhaps ideal times to visit. My trip was at the tail end of Summer and so the climate was still fairly warm and muggy. Light-weight travel clothes that launder well by hand are ideal. On-board I would recommend asking for a dehumidifier for one's room as soon as you board. It will still feel a bit damp in the room, but the dehumidifier does make a pleasant difference. My recommendation is to make this tour starting with Beijing if possible. The Beijing portion is the most physically taxing - long day and significant walking at Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace and the second day at the Great Wall. It makes the relaxation when you get to the boat even more enjoyable. I do wish there had been one more day in Shanghai and others seemed to agree with this, so if your plans allow, add time in Shanghai. In all ways I recommend this tour. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We have just returned from China after an amazing experience with Viking Cruises. Our holiday started in Beijing and ended in Shanghai. Three nights 5* in Beijing and a visit to Tienanmen Square, a flight to Xian for two nights 5* and a ... Read More
We have just returned from China after an amazing experience with Viking Cruises. Our holiday started in Beijing and ended in Shanghai. Three nights 5* in Beijing and a visit to Tienanmen Square, a flight to Xian for two nights 5* and a visit to the Terracotta soldiers. Another flight to Chongqing to join the cruise ship Emerald and a 5 night sail down the Yangtze River to Wuhan. There was so much to see at every stop. A Flight then took us to Shanghai and a further two nights in a 5* hotel. We visited so many places, a local school, a jade factory and a silk carpet factory to name a few. This trip was so organised, not too many people (250) and the best food offered at every meal. The rooms were all clean and air conditioned and the whole thing was at an all in price. The only extras were tips to local coach drivers and guides so factor that into your spending budget. I cannot stress how much my partner and I enjoyed this holiday, and thanks must go to Jane our Viking rep. She was fantastic, funny and extremely knowledgeable with boundless energy considering the heat in June/July this year (2014) Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
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
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 4.5
Enrichment 5.0 4.3
Service 4.0 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 4.4
Rates 4.0 4.2

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