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Viking's Undiscovered China only goes from Shanghai to Beijing and we also did the Hong Kong extension. The entire trip was wonderful and our escort, Francis, couldn't do enough for his 38 passengers. As other reviews have said, the escort is with you the entire trip (a different part-time escort was in Hong Kong). The escort is your main guide (some local guides are also used) and a great help with any trouble shooting that you need. We are generally independent travelers and even when we do a cruise we will go off on our own, but not in China. The ship did have some dehumidifiers running in the halls but we didn't have any problems with the humidity. The weather was generally cloudy and we did have some periods of drizzle or rain; but it didn't interfere with planned activities. All of the hotels were 5 star and the food was very good. On the ship the breakfast and lunch buffets had plenty of options and for dinner you could order from a menu. Wine and beer were included with lunch and dinner. On the land portion of the trip, lunches were always Chinese food served on a Lazy Susan and some of the dinners were buffets. The buffets were better because they generally had some Western food and more variety. We paid the extra money to pick our own flights. As soon as Viking booked these flights we were able to log onto the airline web site and pick our own seats. The airline tickets also included transfers to and from the airports which was a great benefit because the airports were at least 45 minutes from the hotels. In Chengdu we were taken to the Panda Breeding Center. It's a huge zoo for just Giant and Red Pandas. The group all agreed that is was a hi-light of the trip. There are about 200 Giant Pandas (from 3 months to 20+ years old) and 60+ Red Pandas. The pandas are roaming in large areas and many of them were playing and interacting with each other. Also in this city we went to a Sichuan Opera. Don't let the word opera scare you away. This show can be described as more of a variety show consisting of various short performances. This hi-light of the show is the costume and face changing act. Our stay in Beijing included that rickshaw ride through the Hutong Area and a visit to a home where we had a very nice conversation with the owner and her niece. And yes, you need to bring toilet paper or tissues with you because even in a Western toilet outside the hotel you will not find toilet paper. You were also encouraged not to drink any of the water. The hotels and ship provide you with plenty of bottled water. I believe the water was safe to drink but they were afraid you would come down with Traveler's Diarrhea. Finally--this trip was a once in a life time experience and even with the long international flights and the number of inter-China flights that were involved it was well worth it.

Undiscovered China

Viking Emerald Cruise Review by candkd

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Viking's Undiscovered China only goes from Shanghai to Beijing and we also did the Hong Kong extension. The entire trip was wonderful and our escort, Francis, couldn't do enough for his 38 passengers. As other reviews have said, the escort is with you the entire trip (a different part-time escort was in Hong Kong). The escort is your main guide (some local guides are also used) and a great help with any trouble shooting that you need. We are generally independent travelers and even when we do a cruise we will go off on our own, but not in China.

The ship did have some dehumidifiers running in the halls but we didn't have any problems with the humidity. The weather was generally cloudy and we did have some periods of drizzle or rain; but it didn't interfere with planned activities.

All of the hotels were 5 star and the food was very good. On the ship the breakfast and lunch buffets had plenty of options and for dinner you could order from a menu. Wine and beer were included with lunch and dinner. On the land portion of the trip, lunches were always Chinese food served on a Lazy Susan and some of the dinners were buffets. The buffets were better because they generally had some Western food and more variety.

We paid the extra money to pick our own flights. As soon as Viking booked these flights we were able to log onto the airline web site and pick our own seats. The airline tickets also included transfers to and from the airports which was a great benefit because the airports were at least 45 minutes from the hotels.

In Chengdu we were taken to the Panda Breeding Center. It's a huge zoo for just Giant and Red Pandas. The group all agreed that is was a hi-light of the trip. There are about 200 Giant Pandas (from 3 months to 20+ years old) and 60+ Red Pandas. The pandas are roaming in large areas and many of them were playing and interacting with each other. Also in this city we went to a Sichuan Opera. Don't let the word opera scare you away. This show can be described as more of a variety show consisting of various short performances. This hi-light of the show is the costume and face changing act.

Our stay in Beijing included that rickshaw ride through the Hutong Area and a visit to a home where we had a very nice conversation with the owner and her niece.

And yes, you need to bring toilet paper or tissues with you because even in a Western toilet outside the hotel you will not find toilet paper. You were also encouraged not to drink any of the water. The hotels and ship provide you with plenty of bottled water. I believe the water was safe to drink but they were afraid you would come down with Traveler's Diarrhea.

Finally--this trip was a once in a life time experience and even with the long international flights and the number of inter-China flights that were involved it was well worth it.
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