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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The six day river trip on the Yangtze River was part of aa eighteen day adventure in China. From the modern high-rise and lights of Shanghai to the mountain village of Lijiang, this was an exciting and educational experience. The travel ... Read More
The six day river trip on the Yangtze River was part of aa eighteen day adventure in China. From the modern high-rise and lights of Shanghai to the mountain village of Lijiang, this was an exciting and educational experience. The travel through the Three Gorges Dam, the magnificent countryside ad bustling cities, the Panda Reserve experience, the Terra Cotta soldiers, the Forbidden City to the Great Wall made this an adventure of a lifetime. Each day will filled with interesting places to visit and experience along with the local cuisine in each location. Some of the food was very tasty and and although it was similar in content the spices made it different as we traveled from the south of China to the north ending in Beijing. Most of the beer was very mild but was refreshing. The Peking (Beijing) Duck was the best of all the meals, as we as the excellent food served on the Viking Emerald. the accommodations at the various hotels was over the top and the Wanda on the Bund in Shanghai is the nicest hotel we have ever experienced. Don't miss this trip and remember to bring your best walking shoes. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We did the Viking "Undiscovered China" version (there are two other shorter alternatives). While onboard, you are together with 250 passengers, but on land you are usually with about 25-30 and one tour guide for the entire trip ... Read More
We did the Viking "Undiscovered China" version (there are two other shorter alternatives). While onboard, you are together with 250 passengers, but on land you are usually with about 25-30 and one tour guide for the entire trip for that group (Mark--outstanding). We started in Shanghai and stayed at the Wanda Reign, a relatively new hotel right on the river (Bund). This was an over the top Art Deco fantasy with an iPad to control the drapes, lights etc., and a toilet whose lid raised up as you entered the room, plus all kinds of bidet functions. This was typical of the other hotels, St. Regis, Chengdu, Westin Lijiang Old Town, Wyndam Grand Xian and Ritz Carleton Beijing. All were 5 stars. We did a pre-extension in Shanghai with a trip to a small town outside Shanghai (Suchow) where they have a grand canal and a classical garden. Then we started the "real" 19 day part of the tour. What we at first didn't realize is that all 250 passengers were in Shanghai, but at 4 different hotels so we didn't see many of them until the ship. Same for Beijing. After Shanghai, we went to Wuhan to pick up the ship for 6 days. This included both the Three Gorges Dam (transited via locks) as well as cruising through the Three Gorges. At the end of this, the 250 people split up as some were going to Tibet, some had the shorter 12 day trip which skipped the pandas at Chengdu (which we saw) etc. In the end there were three groups of 30 or so that had our 19 day route. Lunches on land often included tours to silk factories, jade carving, terra cotta warrior figurines, etc. and were mostly Chinese "round table with lazy-susan) but were all very good and not that repetitive. Dinners alternated nights with large western/Chinese buffets at the hotels, and Chinese restaurants in the local cities. Ship dinners did the same. What some passengers didn't realize is that the ship had a major interior refurbishment between last November and the beginning of April for this year's season. All the carpets, drapes, upholstery were replaced, so earlier complaints about the condition of the ship aren't relevant anymore. Staff was wonderful. We had the Silver Spirits alcohol package on board and they knew what we liked by the second day. Highlights of course were the pandas at the Panda Reserve in Chengdu, the terra-cotta warriors in Xian, and the cruise. We learned so much from our guide Mark who took great care of our group. We've been on Viking's Grand European River Cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam, and this is of course different, but Viking took very good care of all of us throughout. We'd recommend this trip to anyone whose interested in China. One thing to consider: China is not handicapped friendly as in the US. There are lots of steps, hills and cobblestones. We had two people with canes and they got through, but it wasn't easy. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
My 90 year old mother chose this trip after taking Prague to Paris with the grandaughters. Its was wonderful. After reading the reviews, I was concerned about the physical aspects of the trip & reviewers discussing the difficulty of ... Read More
My 90 year old mother chose this trip after taking Prague to Paris with the grandaughters. Its was wonderful. After reading the reviews, I was concerned about the physical aspects of the trip & reviewers discussing the difficulty of the terrain & lack of access to those with disabilities. Keep in mind my mother walks at least a mile a day, rides an exercise bike regularly. She’s pretty salty for 90. To be safe, I contacted the travel agent 2x- who reassured me that this trip would not be a problem. Wrong, Wrong. So wrong. While this trip provided an excellent array of excursions to showcase China’s history, art, museum exhibits - that doesn’t help you if you can’t get there to see them. Our group’s guide James, who was a wealth of information- did his best to make arrangements for mom at the disembarkment spots but it was still too much. The stairs at every port were unbelievable- usually at least 90- so double that for the return trip. Add to that the heat & humidity in late June - brutal. All the Viking staff on shore & the ship were fabulous- courteous, knowledgeable, friendly- but apparently our travel agent dropped the ball. My mom was unable to enjoy several excursions( the ones she really wanted to see- the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, the Temple) due to exhaustion and knee & hip pain. There were other much younger cruisers who were grumbling about “boot camp” throughout the tour. Just make sure you are in decent shape and stay hydrated. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We had been wanting to take a river cruise, but several people on our African Safari had been to China and said it was a "Must See", so we decided to combine our interest in a river cruise with seeing all the things we had wanted ... Read More
We had been wanting to take a river cruise, but several people on our African Safari had been to China and said it was a "Must See", so we decided to combine our interest in a river cruise with seeing all the things we had wanted to see (but never thought we would) in China. Loved it. First, the guide was wonderful and very helpful. Besides seeing so many things we had wanted, like the Great Wall, Tiannamen Square, the Forbidden City, the Terra Cotta soldiers, we saw so much more. The Rickshaw ride through the Beijing Hutongs, the Sampan boat ride (with an espcially charming young women who told us the story of how the match maker knows which house has marriagable women and who eve sang to us) to the wonderful school excursion and all the perfomances we attended. It was amazing. The ship is a little old and was built in China by the Chinese, so, it was NOT a Viking long ship and probably was due for a little updating. However, we were more than comfortable in our room (and there was always so much to do, that we did not spend much time there.) Of course, being in China, there was a lot of Chinese food served, but different areas had different takes on the how the food was prepared. And while the ship had 2 Chinese food nights, Western food was always available and always really good. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful and went out of their way to learn our names and our habits (after a couple of times, I did not have to even ask for my diet coke with my meal and black tea with my dessert as they remembered). Being a small ship, the opportunities for large entertainment extravaganzas were limited, but they did provide scaled down performances by the staff (and many of them were extremely talented) and local artists (and I learned how to play mahjong). Each night there was music and dancing from 10PM to 11:30PM and we had took full advantage of that. All in all, a great trip. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Cruise was part of Viking China Roof of the World tour. Since we have never been to China, it seemed like a way to experience many of China's highlight and Tibet (Lhasa) too. The land portion was fantastic our guide, Johanna, saw to ... Read More
Cruise was part of Viking China Roof of the World tour. Since we have never been to China, it seemed like a way to experience many of China's highlight and Tibet (Lhasa) too. The land portion was fantastic our guide, Johanna, saw to our every need and really took care of us. This continued on the boat. We had been on three previous Viking river cruises and even though Viking does not own this boat it was up to their high standards. The rooms were comfortable and the shore excursions were excellent. The food was very good. I am a vegetarian and the maitre d' and chef saw to my needs. The Viking Emerald is larger than the Viking long ships that sail the European rivers, but the service is the same. One of the highlights of the river cruise was a visit to a school that Viking supports. Another highlight was a concert of ancient bells in Wuhan. I highly recommend this cruise (and the land portion). Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Pros: It is nice to only have 200 people on board the ship. The staff was lovely and accommodating. The food was fine. The hotels were excellent! The tour guide was good. The intra- country flights were well organized. The live ... Read More
Pros: It is nice to only have 200 people on board the ship. The staff was lovely and accommodating. The food was fine. The hotels were excellent! The tour guide was good. The intra- country flights were well organized. The live performances were good. Embarkment and disembarkment went smoothly. The pandas, the Great Wall, The three gorge dam, the terra cotta warriors and Tiananmen square were the highlights. Cons: The Viking Emerald is a ship that needs to be updated. The cabins, rugs, and couches are old and worn. Three excursions were canceled and filled with mediocre activities. It was so disappointing not to go to the school, the Shanghai Museum and the Hubei Museum and bells performance. This trip is not an easy one. It requires three intra- country flights, climbing many stairs, packing and unpacking, three different hotels, and many shore excursions that require walking long distances. Be prepared! You need to be mobile for this trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
Wanted to see and learn about viet nam. Could not do it in a better fashion than a vrc. It was outstanding from a historic,cultural and shopping point of view. Returned home being much more knowledgeable about vietnam and throughly ... Read More
Wanted to see and learn about viet nam. Could not do it in a better fashion than a vrc. It was outstanding from a historic,cultural and shopping point of view. Returned home being much more knowledgeable about vietnam and throughly enjoyed the trip. The tour guide was excellent. He was very knowledgeable about the history and was honest in his assessment. Service on board was great as usual with the quality of food being outstanding! The land portion was well organized and the hotels were first class. most of the land excursions were of interest but not all of them. However the balance was great. The captain was always present and interacted with the passangers which made the atmosphere much more friendly. We have certainly cultivated new friends as a result. I would strongly recommend this one to friends who want to do something different and learn a lot about a country rich in history. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We had an excellent experience with this, our third Viking cruise. We had land-based stays in Shanghai, xian, and Beijing. The hotels, which Viking had arranged, were fabulous, especially the Wyndem Grande in Xian. The ship, the ... Read More
We had an excellent experience with this, our third Viking cruise. We had land-based stays in Shanghai, xian, and Beijing. The hotels, which Viking had arranged, were fabulous, especially the Wyndem Grande in Xian. The ship, the Emerald, is not owned byViking, but it was quite nice. The bed was not the most comfortable, but there were a lot of nice amenities on board. The food, in general, was good, although we're got tired of the endless buffets. We appreciated the few times we could order more standard meals from a menu. The very best part of the cruise (and there were many, many great things to see on the excursions!) was Viking' practice of assigning a specific guide to a group of about 30 cruisers. Our group had only 28 people not, and our guide, Jack, was just wonderful! We were with him the entire trip, so we really got to know him, and he told us so many interesting things about China, and even a lot about himself and his family. No other guide has ever done that, in our experience. He really made China come alive for us. Ben, the cruise director(?), was also excellent and gave some extremely thorough and interesting talks and slideshows. Viking had arranged the air travel for us, as we also spent a few days on our own in Japan and South Korea, before and after the China portion of the trip. There were a few glitches, but all in all, everything worked out very well. I would recommend Viking cruises to anyone who likes to travel! We have cruised on many different ships, including Holland-American, Regent,, Oceania, Princess and Celebrity. We consider Viking River Cruises one of the best, because of its interesting itineraries. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We had an excellent experience with this, our third Viking cruise. We had land-based stays in Shanghai, xian, and Beijing. The hotels, which Viking had arranged, were fabulous, especially the Wyndem Grande in Xian. The ship, the ... Read More
We had an excellent experience with this, our third Viking cruise. We had land-based stays in Shanghai, xian, and Beijing. The hotels, which Viking had arranged, were fabulous, especially the Wyndem Grande in Xian. The ship, the Emerald, is not owned byViking, but it was quite nice. The bed was not the most comfortable, but there were a lot of nice amenities on board. The food, in general, was good, although we're got tired of the endless buffets. We appreciated the few times we could order more standard meals from a menu. The very best part of the cruise (and there were many, many great things to see on the excursions!) was Viking' practice of assigning a specific guide to a group of about 30 cruisers. Our group had only 28 people not, and our guide, Jack, was just wonderful! We were with him the entire trip, so we really got to know him, and he told us so many interesting things about China, and even a lot about himself and his family. No other guide has ever done that, in our experience. He really made China come alive for us. Ben, the cruise director(?), was also excellent and gave some extremely thorough and interesting talks and slideshows. we enjoyed all the stops on this cruise/land, but especially Shanghai, the Three Gorges area on the Yangtze River, Xian, and Beijing. Viking had arranged the air travel for us, as we also spent a few days on our own in Japan and South Korea, before and after the China portion of the trip. There were a few glitches, but all in all, everything worked out very well. I would recommend Viking cruises to anyone who likes to travel! We have cruised on many different ships, including Holland-American, Regent,, Oceania, Princess and Celebrity. We consider Viking River Cruises one of the best, because of its interesting itineraries. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2016
We selected Viking for our trip to China based on the fantastic service and programs we had experienced with Viking on a Danube cruise. The China trip was a cruise/tour and we were very pleased that each small group was assigned a guide ... Read More
We selected Viking for our trip to China based on the fantastic service and programs we had experienced with Viking on a Danube cruise. The China trip was a cruise/tour and we were very pleased that each small group was assigned a guide who stayed with the group through the entire trip, including the cruise. We always had a person to go to who knew us and with whom we were comfortable. The tours in each city were excellent - a wonderful mix of the iconic sights and intimate cultural experiences, such as visiting a lady's home in Beijing. The hotels were all five star and very comfortable. Traveling through airports was a breeze - our guide took care of the luggage and boarding documents. The ship was excellent - larger than the Viking longships but just a comfortable and lovely. Of course, ther service was excellent. I heartily recommend Viking for a once-in-a-lifetime trip like China. You will not be disappointed. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
A great holiday starting in Beijing including a 5 day cruise down the Yangtse river and ending in Shanghai ( with a 2 day extension) fantastic itinerary taking in all i wanted to see. Every hotel we stayed at was top class 4-5 star and ... Read More
A great holiday starting in Beijing including a 5 day cruise down the Yangtse river and ending in Shanghai ( with a 2 day extension) fantastic itinerary taking in all i wanted to see. Every hotel we stayed at was top class 4-5 star and pampered to our every need. The food choice was huge and the hotels always made available a "western type meal" ie roast beef,roast lamb,beef wellington etc etc along with a large choice of chinese food, salads etc. The cruise itself was fantastic with exceptional food quality and choice, the waiters were very friendly and professional and nothing seemed too much trouble. Entertainment onboard was also very good with different themes each evening. all the shore excursions were included in the price and every one was so well planned and just ran like clockwork. All in all the whole trip was exceptional, at first we thought it was a little expensive compared with the competition but on reflection it was very good value for money and i would recommend Viking to anyboby considering a trip like ours. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We wanted to see China and when we heard about this cruise/tour, we knew that it was what we needed to book since it covered so many of the sites we wanted to see. We have traveled Viking before on the Danube in Europe and knew that ... Read More
We wanted to see China and when we heard about this cruise/tour, we knew that it was what we needed to book since it covered so many of the sites we wanted to see. We have traveled Viking before on the Danube in Europe and knew that we would enjoy it.. We definitely did!! We did explore our departure city (Shanghai) before the cruise with our tour guide (it was part of the cruise/tour). The embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly. The entire experience was wonderful. The ship and the cabin were very nice. The staff/crew were very helpful and friendly. We really enjoyed the entertainment, activities and all of the shore excursions. The dining room offered many choices and the dining staff were very interested in seeing that we were happy we our meals. I have a dietary issue and the maitre'd was very attentive to my needs. Our Viking experience included travel by plane and bus as well as our time on the ship. The entire experience was phenominal. We had a wonderful time and we would go again in a heartbeat. P.S. Our tour guide Francis was exceptional! He is the best tour guide that we have ever had on any of our prior cruises. His personality, his kindness, his knowledge of the many places we visited helped to make this trip the best we have ever had. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
My 76-year old lady-friend's husband did not want to fly from Florida to China, so this 70-year old accompanied her friend who wanted to see the terra cotta soldiers near Xi'an. Both of us had been flight attendants for many ... Read More
My 76-year old lady-friend's husband did not want to fly from Florida to China, so this 70-year old accompanied her friend who wanted to see the terra cotta soldiers near Xi'an. Both of us had been flight attendants for many years in our former lives, and we retain the adventuresome spirit. Viking's excursions were top notch, and the entire trip exceeded our expectations. Our warm and caring Chinese tour guide for 13 days, RAY, spoke excellent English and went way above and beyond to make sure all 36 people in his diverse group were happy. The seven days on the ship were glorious, thanks to restaurant manager, Dominick, and awesome program director, Wilhelm, as well as all the staff. The selection of food onboard was unparalleled, and the "lazy Susan" Chinese meals onshore while at three different five-star hotels were fabulous. Oh, yes, and the three intra-China flights went smoothly. A rickshaw ride through Beijing hutong was one of the best experiences because we were able to see how older families live in contrast to the current ultra-modern cities. I was most impressed by the overall infrastructure -- many gorgeous new suspension bridges and, of course, the Three Gorges Dam that is able to supply water and power to many people, while, unfortunately its creation displaced many others. The locals were exceptionally friendly -- in the Chingqing zoo near the panda exhibits, in the elementary school, and on the Great Wall. GO GO GO!!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
this was a Yangtze River cruise. We had time in Shanghai before leaving--great museum, would have liked a bit more time to explore city sights. Transition to ship was smooth--all Viking staff were terrific--extremely professional and ... Read More
this was a Yangtze River cruise. We had time in Shanghai before leaving--great museum, would have liked a bit more time to explore city sights. Transition to ship was smooth--all Viking staff were terrific--extremely professional and attentive to our needs. The ship staterooms were a bit tight, though comfortable enough. I liked the view from the ship and the various field trips. The workout room was a bit tight but the Tai Chi instructor was great--challenging and excellent workout each morning helped counteract the tight quarters and lots of food. Meals were enjoyable and the Officers and dining staff were incredibly responsive to requests, going out of their way to exceed all of our expectations. The on-ship programs were interesting and entertaining as well The river cruise was only a third of our trip, however. As a whole, this was definitely a 5-star tour, from our engaging and deeply knowledgeable guide, Patrick, to the outstanding hotel accommodations, to the inclusive tours and events and the few optional engagements--everything provided a thoughtful, insightful view of China and broad exposure to a fascinating country. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
This was the Roof of the World Tour so the river cruise was just a portion of the total trip. The tour guide for our 18-person group, Jamie, was amazing - knowledgable, compassionate, communicative. She helped us know what was coming and ... Read More
This was the Roof of the World Tour so the river cruise was just a portion of the total trip. The tour guide for our 18-person group, Jamie, was amazing - knowledgable, compassionate, communicative. She helped us know what was coming and how to be most comfortable, safe and in the moment for each experience. Our entire experience was first class. The accommodations and food were fabulous. My major suggestion is that Viking be more upfront about the possibility that altitude in Lhasa could affect a large proportion of travelers so that people were not panicked that their symptoms might have been unrelated to altitude. Fully half of our group required doctor care and we learned that that percentage was not atypical. This was despite following advice prior to travel including altitude medication, hydration and rest. Nonetheless, for my son and me, Lhasa may have been the most precious of our destinations. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We chose this cruise because we really enjoyed our Viking cruise in France, and the excursions covered a lot of sights we wanted to see. Unfortunately, this one didn't go as well as our French cruise. There were many problems on the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we really enjoyed our Viking cruise in France, and the excursions covered a lot of sights we wanted to see. Unfortunately, this one didn't go as well as our French cruise. There were many problems on the Emerald: Moldy smell in many areas: rooms/hallways. Had to change rooms to the second alternative room, because the first alternative room also smelled moldy. Room attendant, Marvin: We ran out of toiletries, including toilet paper. He didn't replenish them. Had to call desk for more. His cart was outside our room everyday. One day I took a soap because we were low, and the cart contents never changed. Every day, everything was neatly arranged and full, except for the hole left by the one soap I took. I don' think anybody got new toiletries. He never cleaned the rug. It was filthy by the end. I put a dirty bathroom glass in the center of counter to exchange for a clean one. He just put the dirty one on an old coaster and put it behind the faucet as if it were a clean glass. I left my robe on the couch one day. He just wadded it up and put a pillow over it to cover it. Basically all he did was make the bed every day. He didn't understand anything we tried to say to him. Fiona was an excellent server, as was Alice. The main emcee gentleman was pretty impossible to understand. Also, the Shangri-La hotel in Guilin was not a good choice. It was overrun with children, and if you didn't like seafood, the food choices were just vegetables. I had tomatoes, olives and bread for dinner. It's a good thing I decided against the chicken, because a fellow passenger told me the next day that it had made him sick. Also, towels and toiletries were on the skimpy side. All other hotels were wonderful. Ray, our guide, was outstanding, and totally saved this trip! He made all the shore excursions fun. (Unfortunately, nobody could make the Chinese Acrobat show fun. It was not terribly acrobatic, or interesting.) Other shows were good. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
The Viking Emerald is not the usual Scandinavian design, it is definitely Chinese. Beautifully decorated with shops where you can have silk clothing MADE on board, watch a very good artist paint, and more. The staff is polite and ... Read More
The Viking Emerald is not the usual Scandinavian design, it is definitely Chinese. Beautifully decorated with shops where you can have silk clothing MADE on board, watch a very good artist paint, and more. The staff is polite and attentive. The meals, really special. We did tour to Xian. I was blown away by the warriors , and the Great Wall really impress. For me this was not a vacation. It was a lot of walking every day. I came home tired but very happy we went. The population in China is shoulder to shoulder. The traffic was hair raising. Our driver was good and our tour director was outstanding. He had an answer for almost all question the 29 of us could ask and his patience was unending. This was a wonderful trip and I encourage you to go. Take good walking shoes, rain jacket and sunglasses. Happy travels Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 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 absolutely wonderful! The Viking staff took care of everything for us; we felt so pampered. ... 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 absolutely wonderful! The Viking staff took care of everything for us; we felt so pampered. Airfare: We used the AirPlus program with Viking so we could choose our airline and flights. The price was "ok," but about a month prior to the trip (and after our tickets had already been issued and no refund possible from Viking), the airline dropped the price on the same exact flights about $200 each. (the price went higher after a few days, however, so you have to catch it at the "right time") So, I'm not sure whether I would do that again or not. However, it WAS nice to be able to choose our flights which, for us, were non-stop flights. I heard that some folks who did not make that choice had more convoluted routes to China. Our tour escort, Bob,was amazing. Our group consisted of 22 folks from various parts of the U.S. and the U.K. The earpieces that are provided by Viking helped us be able to keep track of what the guide was saying. Bob was so very careful to make sure everyone was with him at all times! He was also willing to make additional arrangements for some of us (like we decided to go to the Summer Palace on a free afternoon in Beijing), and he gave the taxi drivers Chinese written directions and negotiated the prices for us. Luggage: Before each flight, we were told what time to have our checked baggage in the hallway (they gave us tags for the luggage), and we didn't have to do anything with the bags until we arrived at the next airport. After each flight, we only had to identify our bags at the baggage area to make sure they were not damaged during the flight, then the staff took them to our hotel and to our rooms for us. We did not have to worry about overweight bags (within reason). We were also allowed more than 1 carry-on bag on the intra-China flights, and the size and weight of those bags were never questioned. Make sure you have locks for your luggage because there are several times that your luggage is out of your sight. Also, you should lock your bags when they are on the intra-China flights; that's not restricted like it is in the U.S. Obviously, do not leave valuables in your checked luggage, even with locks. Hotels: We stayed at the Kerry Hotel (Beijing), Hilton Hotel (Xi'an), and the Westin Bund (Shanghai). Of the three, the Kerry was the best overall. The food in its buffet was excellent. We were disappointed in the food at the Westin. The evening buffet ran out of food before the end of serving hours, and the breakfast buffet just wasn't as good as the other 2 hotels (it was even hard to get a refill on coffee each morning). The last meal of the trip which was provided by the Westin was hardly edible. Water: There was always plenty of bottled water available on the buses as well as the ship so we never had to worry about whether we were drinking safe water or not. The water on the ship was purified so it was always safe. Electricity: I was always charging several batteries: phones, cameras, tablets. All the chargers for those devices are multi-voltage (accept 110 & 220 v) but have US plugs. There was never a problem finding enough plugs that accepted US plugs for charging at the hotels or on the ship. If you are concerned, you might take 1 or 2 plug adapters. I wish I hadn't taken all I took; I never used them. Food: We took several bags of snacks in case we got hungry between meals. We never did really need those. The food was quite good most of the time. When the trip description says that lunch will be at a "local restaurant," most of those on our trip were at shops where the staff was very pushy to get you to buy something at the shop either before or after your meal (jade shop, terra cotta soldier shop). We skipped the dumpling demonstration which meant we (and others who also skipped it) ate in a different dining area that evening. That was actually our best meal of the trip! Ship: We loved our time on the Viking Emerald! It was very relaxing, but there was always something floating by on the river that was interesting and/or unique. If you enjoy experiencing engineering wonders, stay awake while the ship is going through the locks at the 3 Gorges Dam. This happened after dinner on our trip and it was dark. It was truly amazing to see how they squeezed 4 ships into 1 lock at a time and then lowered the water level. The sun deck was an amazing (an usually almost deserted) place to watch the river. Our cabin was adequate in size; having the veranda made it feel so much more comfortable. We asked for a dehumidifier upon arrival which made the room more comfortable (we emptied over a gallon of water from it every day!). Sometimes the air conditioner didn't cool the room that well. When arriving onto the ship, there were MANY greeters..so many, in fact, that I was distracted and tripped over the 6-inch high threshold at the main door. They should have some one outside the door (they were all inside the door) to make sure guests see the tall threshold. The carpet in our cabin needed to be stretched..it had some wrinkles in it. Nothing to stumble over, but a mild nuisance. Excursions along the river: For us, the Shibaozhai Pagoda was just OK. The vendors along the way to/from the pagoda were very pushy and rude. One even hit at my wife's arm because we wouldn't buy anything! We also could have skipped the school in Jingzhou; I felt badly that the students had to come to school on a Sunday for their performances. The Lesser Gorges excursion was excellent..enjoyed seeing the smaller gorge areas. Money: We took about 300 USD worth of yuan with us (ordered it from our local bank) which was helpful because we had local currency that we could use upon arrival. Later in the trip we withdrew more yuan from an atm later which also worked fine for us. We bought most of our smaller souvenirs and purchases using yuan, and we used credit cards (credit cards that don't charge foreign exchange fees) to charge our more expensive souvenirs. We charged the tips for the ship staff to a credit card. We used yuan for tips to the city tour guides and the bus drivers. We never saw the porters, etc so we didn't give tips for them. For the "big" tip for the trip escort (must be cash), we used a mix of USD and yuan (so we wouldn't bring much yuan back to the U.S.). Haggling: Haggle for everything at the smaller shops and street purchases. I enjoy Coca-Cola and didn't want to pay the ship's prices, so I bought some bottles on the street. I discovered that even those can be bought for less than the asking price. Safety: We NEVER felt unsafe at anytime during our trip. I was amazed at how many people are everywhere (we live in a large U.S. city so we are accustomed to crowds--but not anything like the crowds in China!). Be prepared to push through some crowds at many of the sites...especially in the women's restrooms. You don't have to be rude..just calmly insistent, otherwise you can easily get separated from your group. Mobility: Walking on the Great Wall: we are quite mobile, but decided to take our collapsible walking sticks with us. We are so glad we did. The steps on the Wall are quite irregularly shaped and some are very steep (going down is harder than going up), so the walking sticks helped us maintain our balance and safety. This was an excellent trip that we will never forget...so if you are even mildly interested--DO IT! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was a 13 day land and river cruise package from Beijing to Shanghai in April of 2016 The air connections were very good. The hotels were top notch A1, the guides were excellent, the food was very good and the service all the way ... Read More
This was a 13 day land and river cruise package from Beijing to Shanghai in April of 2016 The air connections were very good. The hotels were top notch A1, the guides were excellent, the food was very good and the service all the way through was excellent. Our cabin on the 5 day cruise was very comfortable. All tours and guides were arranged and did an excellent job. We could not have seen that much if we had tried to do this on our own. We met wonderful people and ended with a group of 14. We had 2 people with restrictive diets and the guides watched everything they were served, going over each menu to make sure they stayed healthy. This is something I hadn't seen before with other tours. We would recommend Viking to everyone. It was a fabulous trip. We are now looking into another Viking trip. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
There are a few different companies that offer similar cruises up the Mekong, but we had sailed with Viking River Cruises in the past and were happy with them. I booked the April sailing, the last of the season because we could not sail ... Read More
There are a few different companies that offer similar cruises up the Mekong, but we had sailed with Viking River Cruises in the past and were happy with them. I booked the April sailing, the last of the season because we could not sail earlier. This meant that we had to deal with the summer heat, which made the trip uncomfortable at times, but still well worthwhile. We took the 3 day Bangkok pre cruise extension and the 2 day Halong Bay post cruise extension. I would recommend both if you have the time, since the 12 hour difference in time from North America causes some jet lag that needs to be overcome. Both places are worth a visit if you travel that far. We enjoyed the company of 52 other passengers, most were about the same age group of active 60 and 70 year old travelers. We got along well. The ship (boat) is very nice, built for Viking by Pandow, and is named Pandow Tonle, after the Cambodian Lake of that name. Cambodian regulations did not allow Viking to put their name on a boat until they have done business there for many years. Perhaps they will design and built a new vessel in the future, but this one was just fine, and described in detail in previous reviews. We enjoyed the stops along the river and the activities Viking included. There were many opportunities to shop. We were always glad to get back to the air-conditioned boat because the temperatures were usually in the 90's or even 100 F, with high humidity. By the time we got to Phnom Penh some people opted to miss some trips because of this, but we did not want to miss anything. The "Killing Fields" were a must see, there were few people that did not lose a family member during this time. It really makes an impression. So my only complaint was the heat, and we knew that it would be bad in April, and the locals said that it was worse than usual for this time of year. Our cabin was fine, but the air-conditioner was working full time and an electric fan in the cabin would have helped in the early evening. Most of all, I was impressed with how this part of the world has recovered from the times I was there between 1965 and 1974. I could not recognize Saigon, only a few of the buildings. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2016
Choose Viking based on recommendation of prior Viking guest. Planning to take another viking tour. Chose Viking China-Tibet-Hong Kong tour to fill in places we had not traveled to before. Viking Tour guides truly cared about providing ... Read More
Choose Viking based on recommendation of prior Viking guest. Planning to take another viking tour. Chose Viking China-Tibet-Hong Kong tour to fill in places we had not traveled to before. Viking Tour guides truly cared about providing guests a rewarding experience. Viking tour guides worked together to coordinate activities for the benefit of all. As a frequent international business traveler the preplanning of travel and tour logistics was well manged and appreciated. The hotel accommodations were excellent. Each hotel provided a large selection of western and local regional food. No one went wanting. At each regional tour location we met up with a local English speaking guide to compliment our main Viking guide. This gave us an insight to local history and culture which included discussions, questions/answers including museums, cultural shows and musical entertainment. Trip highlights were many. Tienanmen Square, Great Wall, Terra Cotta Soldiers, Rickshaw Ride, Potala Palace, Three Gorges Dam, Custom made Chinese jacket made on board etc etc. Booking process and paperwork provided was detailed and complete. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Choose Viking based on itinerary and positive recommendation of previous tour participant. Our China tour was a combination of land, river and air. All went smoothly. Viking pays attention to detail in addition to our dedicated tour guide ... Read More
Choose Viking based on itinerary and positive recommendation of previous tour participant. Our China tour was a combination of land, river and air. All went smoothly. Viking pays attention to detail in addition to our dedicated tour guide with us throughout the trip they had local English speaking representatives and tour guides to provide local flavor, knowledge and information. Our dedicated tour guide was knowledgeable, attentive and personable. A lot of previous planning and logistic's by Viking went into this trip to allow smooth touring. The hotel accommodations were top notch. Food selection was great. Accommodations aboard ship were good. Dining was open seating, food selection and the overall staff and level of service throughout the river cruise was excellent. River sights were spectacular.You definitely see and learn more traveling by river. Tours were excellent and very cultural, informative and historic in nature. We took many pictures to remember our China Viking tour experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
My mom and I chose to travel with Viking to China because we had heard great things about Viking tours, and wanted to travel with a reputable company. When we looked at the available cruises we chose the 'cruise' from Beijing to ... Read More
My mom and I chose to travel with Viking to China because we had heard great things about Viking tours, and wanted to travel with a reputable company. When we looked at the available cruises we chose the 'cruise' from Beijing to Shanghai. One thing that appealed to us "virgin" cruisers was that there were hotel stays prior to and after the cruise portion. We had a few days in Beijing and Xian before the cruise and got to explore The Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, The Terra Cotta Warriors, and other fantastic places, all while staying in five-star accommodation. Then we boarded the Viking Emerald, we enter into a beautiful atrium and our taken to our stateroom-spacious and has a great veranda. The Yangtze River provided a beautiful backdrop as we cruised, and it was wonderful to enjoy sitting on our veranda. The food onboard was delicious, and I loved that at every meal there was a local cuisine option. The crew was amazing, and talented! The entertainment on board surpassed my expectations. The shore excursions were well thought out and gave a view of China that we couldn't get in the larger cities- I particularly loved the lesser gorges tour because our guide had lived there her entire life and she described the culture. Even when we couldn't go on one of the excursions (due to a weather/lock schedule issue), the staff on the boat went out of their way to plan some last minute entertainment, including a free alcoholic beverage, so that we would still get a great experience, even if it wasn't the one we had planned. It has been over six months since we traveled, and my mom and I still are talking about all of the wonderful experiences we had in China. I am normally an independent traveler, but I am so glad I traveled with Viking because I know I would not have seen a quarter of what I saw with them, or with the ease that everything was handled. I have recommended this trip to everyone I know, and I would gladly go on this trip again! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
We chose this cruise and land excursion to get a good understanding of the culture of SE Asia. Unlike others I found the ship quaint and it fit the area we were traveling in. While the stairs were steep and there were some tall banks ... Read More
We chose this cruise and land excursion to get a good understanding of the culture of SE Asia. Unlike others I found the ship quaint and it fit the area we were traveling in. While the stairs were steep and there were some tall banks to climb. The itinerary stated that this trip was for people that could climb stairs and navigate uneven terrain. Viking went out of their way to accommodate people that were physically challenged. The food was excellent on the ship. There were two meals that were served away from the hotel and the ship that were less than spectacular. I would suggest that Viking revisit those locations. Excursions were excellent. The only excursion that I would do away with is the one to the lacquer factory. It turned out to be a shopping stop a a cheap souvenir shop. All of the rest of the stops were extremely interesting. We also found our tour guide Lee to go out of his way to insure that we having a good time. He was well trained and very knowledgeable about all the areas and history of the region. Viking also brought in secondary guides in parts of Vietnam and Cambodia. The tour included a visit to a school and a orphanage. Most of the people on the tour only went to the orphanage. I would suggest that one of these tours be replaced with an alternate excursion. Vikings plan to include all excursions as part of the tour makes it easier for planning and keeping the group together. Read Less
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